Conceptualisation and measurement of the empowerment of workers : an educational perspective

Albertyn, Ruth Meriel (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2000-12)

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: In the era of globalisation, demands for increased productivity and multiple skills present challenges to adult educators in their role of facilitating empowerment in individuals. The proposed link between productivity and empowerment has stimulated interest in the concept by management and there has to be accountability to ensure that the needs of individuals and organisations are balanced. The aim of designing a standardised measuring instrument comprised the first phase of this research. The questionnaire was compiled based on the outcomes of empowerment identified in the literature on three levels (Micro-level, Interface level and Macro-level). After exploratory testing, the summated ratings method was applied in order to reduce and standardise the questionnaire. This instrument was tested for validity and the questionnaire of 61 statements was retained for the experiment. The experiment was conducted in the second phase to measure the effects of an intervention on the empowerment of workers. The questionnaire was applied in the Pre-, Post- and Postpost- test design in eight companies in the Western Cape where the life-skills training programme FREE TO GROW was implemented. Qualitative data collected identified the outcomes of empowerment and also validated the measuring instrument. Statistical procedures applied identified the patterns of empowerment in respondents. The respondents in the experiment were mainly females and the mean age was 33.9 years. The majority were Afrikaans and most classified themselves as part of the Coloured ethnic group. The FREE TO GROW training programme succeeded in achieving the objective of empowerment because it was found that there was a statistically significant improvement in the empowerment status of workers both in the short and long term. Most of the total group was empowered on the Interface level prior to the course and on the Micro-level after the course and in the long term. The males were more empowered on the Macro-level before the course, but had increased sustained Interface-level empowerment. The females benefited most on the Micro-level directly after the course and in the long term. Before the course the Coloured group was more empowered on the Micro-level compared to the whites, but they benefited most on the Interface level directly after the course. The Coloured group and females had statistically significant higher scores on the Interface level in the long term. In terms of the patterns of empowerment, it was found that the Micro-level issues were dominant prior to the course with a greater spread of perception of the other aspects of empowerment over time. Before the course, the respondents tended to react to personal and family issues where no action was needed. They were motivated to achieve their goals and had a desire for control over aspects affecting them. Directly after the course they had a more positive view of life, a sense of personal responsibility, and an ability to cope. They were prepared to take the initiative, were more ambitious and felt confident of their abilities in the workplace. In the long term their experience of empowerment was more balanced and they felt good about themselves, were more assertive, able to think critically and more involved in issues external to themselves. The measuring instrument designed in this study measured the outcomes of empowerment on three levels and helped to identify the patterns that emerged over the course of an intervention. A standardised empowerment questionnaire can increase accountability, assist in balancing the needs of individuals and management, and can provide insights to educationalists seeking to empower adults.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING:In die era van globalisering stel die vraag na verhoogde produktiwiteit en veelvuldige vaardighede groot uitdagings aan opvoedkundiges betrokke by volwassene-onderrig in hul rol as fasiliteerders van bemagtiging by individue. Die voorgestelde verb and tussen produktiwiteit en bemagtiging het bestuur se belangstelling in die konsep aangewakker en toerekenbaarheid is noodsaaklik ten einde te verseker dat die behoeftes van individue en organisasies in balans is. Die eerste fase van hierdie navorsing het die ontwerp van 'n gestandaardiseerde meetinstrument ten doel gehad. Die vraelys is saamgestel op grond van die uitkomste van bemagtiging op drie vlakke (Mikrovlak, Interpersoonlike-vlak en Makrovlak) soos in die literatuur geYdentifiseer. Na ondersoekende toetsing is die vraelys verkort en gestandaardiseer. Hierdie instrument is vir geldigheid getoets en die vraelys van 61 stellings is vir die eksperiment behou. In die tweede fase is die eksperiment uitgevoer om die uitwerking van 'n intervensie op die bemagtiging van werkers te meet. Die vraelys is in die voor- en na-toets en mi die na-toets in agt maatskappye in die Wes-Kaap toegepas waar die opleidingsprogram In lewensvaardighede, "FREE TO GROW', geYmplementeer is. Kwalitatiewe data wat ingesamel is het die resultate van bemagtiging geYdentifiseer en ook die geldigheid van die meetinstrument bekragtig. Statistiese prosedures wat toegepas is het die bemagtigingspatrone by respondente geYdentifiseer. Die respondente in die eksperiment was hoofsaaklik vroue en die gemiddelde ouderdom was 33.9 jaar. Die meeste was Afrikaanssprekend en het hulself as lede van die Kleurling etniese groep geklassifiseer. Die "FREE TO GROW' opleidingsprogram het daarin geslaag om die doelwit van bemagtiging te bereik, omdat daar op kort- en lang termyn 'n statisties beduidende verbetering in die bemagtigingstatus van werkers gevind is. Die meeste van die totale groep is voor die kursus op die Interpersoonlike-vlak bemagtig en na die kursus en op die lang termyn op die Mikrovlak. Die mans is voor die kursus meer op die Makrovlak bemagtig, maar het groter volgehoue Interpersoonlike-vlak bemagtiging getoon. Die vroue het onmiddellik na die kursus en op die lang termyn die meeste op die Mikrovlak gebaat. Voor die kursus was die Kleurlinggroep meer op die Mikrovlak bemagtig in vergelyking met die blankes, maar hulle het onmiddellik na die kursus die meeste op die Interpersoonlike-vlak gebaat. Die Kleurlinggroep en die vroue het op lang termyn statisties beduidend hoer tellings op die Interpersoonlike-vlak behaal. Wat bemagtigingpatrone betref, is bevind dat die Mikrovlak-kwessies voor die kursus oorheersend was, met 'n groter verspreiding van persepsie van die ander aspekte van bemagtiging oor tyd. Voor die kursus was die respondente geneig om op persoonlike en gesinsaangeleenthede te reageer wat geen aksies vereis het nie. Hulle was gemotiveer om hul doelwitte te bereik en het beheer verlang oor aspekte wat hulle geraak het. Onmiddellik na die kursus het hulle 'n meer positiewe uitkyk op die lewe en 'n persoonlike verantwoordelikheidsin gehad, en getoon dat hulle probleme kon hanteer. Hulle was bereid om die insiatief te neem, was meer ambisieus en het vertroue gehad in hul vermoens in die werkplek. Op die lang termyn was hul ervaring van bemagtiging meer gebalanseerd en hulle het goed gevoel oor hulself, was meer assertief, in staat tot kritiese denke en meer betrokke by aangeleenthede buite hulself. Die meetinstrument wat in hierdie studie ontwerp is, het die uitkoms van bemagtiging op drie vlakke gemeet en gehelp om die patrone wat oor die verloop van 'n intervensie na yore gekom het, te identifiseer. 'n Gestandaardiseerde bemagtigingsvraelys kan toerekenbaarheid verhoog, help om die behoeftes van individue en bestuur te balanseer, en insig bied aan opvoedkundiges wat poog om volwassenes te bemagtig.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/51662
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