Empowerment involves “giving workers at every level of the organization the power, the freedom, and the responsibility to control their own work, to make decisions, and to take action to meet the company’s objectives”. (Zimmerer, & Scarborough, 2003)
According to contemporary McClelland’s theory of needs, which is a development of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, people’s demand consists of need for achievement, need for affiliation and need for power, the last ones means everyone are in expectation of influencing and controlling others, thus a manager should not just lay down the law about employees’ job, or else, there will be less job satisfaction, and the company will be full of mediocre person who just can obey orders. (Robbins, 2005) only empowerment will result in motivated staff, as it were, empowerment is a key ingredient of successful management.
In addition, the theory of centralization versus decentralization brought forward by Simon, the winner of the Nobel Prize for economics in 1978, clarifies that decentralization is indispensable for large-scale company. (Simon, 2004) Konosuke’s 70% empowerment generalizes a good balance between order and flexibility, control and autonomy, its success has been explored as follows. A. Empowerment enables employees to make full use of their advantages, they will be fond of facing the music and going forward, and it is bound to bring about motivated staff, quality customer service and improved profits. (Mullins, 2005)
B. Managers obtain much more time to handle key problems relating to the development of business, operating decision and emergency. C. It will improve the quality of decision-making for more people’s participation. D. 70% empowerment spells giving 30% aids to employees at a pinch. Usually, employees are not so perfect in ability and experience; appropriate aid could fit their behaviors for serving the objectives of organization. (Liu, 2005) 70% empowerment is referential, but it is hard for a manager to weight the extent of decentralization, if a large company decentralizes excessively, a decomposition may occur.
Morita Akio, as one of the creators of Sony Company, has very pronounced views on “Never mind school record” in the approach to recruitment. In his sense of worth, school record does not mean that your practical working capability could reach the required standard of enterprise, judging someone by his/her educational qualifications is putting the incidental before the fundamental. (Akio, 2004) This value is somewhat like Konosuke’s recruitment of middling people, they both give attention to those who do have apparent good records, and give them the opportunity to tap the potential and prove themselves.
Moreover, the most important point is that they hold a down-to-earth attitude. Larry Ellison, the Chief Executive Officer of Oracle (the one-up supplier of information management software), is a frenetic and aggressive manager, it has embodied in her interpersonal value. On the issue of recruitment, his attitude is direct and simple, that is hiring the classic, the cleverest youths from the best university, such as Harvard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford, and the next step is to throw them into the sea of practice, he even does care about which position is fit for them, he believes practice will change them.
(Southwick, 2005) his management is centralized, and it is usually accompanied by high risks. Daniel Bernard, the CEO of Carrefour (the world’s 2nd largest retail seller), established a set of operating principle-one-stop shopping, lowest price, fresh products, self-served shopping in a hypermarket with free parking lots, all this makes a rigorous requirement for its staff, thus he paid much attention on operation value education and on-the-job training to intensify the implementation of those principles, his training approach also emphasizes employees’ emotional and affective experience.
(Guo, 2006) it can be seen that, Bernard have set specific training objectives and the training area to improve employees’ technical skills. Liu Chuanzhi, chairman of Beijing computer company Lenovo Group Ltd, places great emphasis on the training of employees’ loyalty, he thought that high salary without loyalty training might result in brain drain, thus no matter who join Lenove has to receive a training about enterprise history, values and proprieties, Liu will try his best to incorporate employees’ manner into organization culture and behaviour norms.
(Anon, 2005) Liu Chuanzhi’s moral education is the same with Konosuke’s “Rooting enterprise spirit into employees’ mind”, both have formed a written enterprise values to standardize staff behaviour and thought. Christopher Galvin, the present CEO of Motorola, has his own management philosophy to control such a giant company; his tenet is to allocate the best human resource effectively. Showing respect and delegating to those people is a perfect way to make people more responsible and then to achieve outstanding accomplishment.
(Li, 1998) Enlightened business owners could recognize employees’ ability, develop them, and then give them the freedom and the power to use those abilities; consequently a good balance between order and flexibility, control and autonomy ensures that the enormous management structure of Motorola could be flexible. Henry Ford, the creator of Ford Motor Company (One of the world’s largest motor manufacturers), is famous for his highly centralized management style, he sticks to centralize all the authority in the hand of the highest level.
(Kuang, 2006) This managerial approach it effective, and its decision speed is high, however, with the enlargement of enterprise and the change of external environment, it is necessary to balance the management technique of centralization against decentralization. It has been shown, therefore, that human capital is the only true source of competitive advantage at present and in the future, and companies can only fulfil their objectives and goals by the coordinated efforts of their employees, human resource management just has the functions of providing for and coordinating the human resource.
Konosuke Matsushita’s approach to management is distinctive and referential, especially his recruitment value, training skills and the attitude to right of management, in his principle, a shrewd manager should recruit the humble people, train them spiritually, and then empower them boldly, it is consistent with management theories, and has its own luminous point, however, several well-know managers, as mentioned before, may adopt completely opposite approaches in the similar situation, such as Larry Ellison pursuing the best talent, Henry Ford preferring centralization, whether they are successful, time will tell.