Perceptions of empowerment by the construction senior management

The research reviews the potential of team and individual empowerment as performance improvement strategies for construction. The important role of empowerment has been emphasized through a discussion of recent trends in the construction industry, for example the Rethinking Construction report on respect for people, which highlighted the central role of empowerment in improving people management practices within the sector. The recent focus on the effective integration and management of supply chains within the Construction Sector has emphasized the need to ensure that all key stakeholders contribute fully to the achievement of project objectives. However the process of empowering organizations and individuals within this framework has been largely ignored. This is surprising given the industry’s reliance upon virtual teams, fragmented work groups, sub-contracted labour and multi-organizational project delivery structures. The aim of the first phase of the study is to examine the nature, content and effectiveness of current levels of organizational and individual empowerment, teamwork and leadership strategies within the UK construction sector. The methods used to achieve this exploratory aim were two workshops in which a large range of project stakeholders provided an insight into industry perceptions and the current utilization of empowerment strategies. This exploratory research forms part of a much wider study which aims to identify appropriate empowerment strategies for achieving given project criteria and performance objectives. An outcome of the research will be a typology for facilitating the management of organizational and operational employee empowerment for improved project delivery.