Empowerment in a multicultural organization : The perception of empowerment from a multicultural and oraganizational level perspective

Detta är en Master-uppsats från KTH/Industriell ekonomi och organisation (Inst.); KTH/Industriell ekonomi och organisation (Inst.)


During the last decades, corporations have become more multinational, and the concept of employee empowerment has become one of the largest management trends within organizations. Managers need to be flexible when working with multicultural employees and understand that practices are perceived differently depending on the national culture and organizational level. Today relatively little research has focused on empowerment from a multicultural perspective. Thus, the purpose of this thesis is to examine how empowerment is perceived in a multicultural company, by analyzing the perceptions of the employees with different backgrounds and positions in a single firm setting. In addition, this thesis strives to study how empowerment can be reinforced in order to overcome cultural and organizational differences. This was examined through a case study at a fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) organization in Sweden. Semi-structured interviews were held to obtain an in-depth understanding, while a survey was designed to support the interviews and to get a general picture of the organization.

For the analysis, the respondents were divided into different categories, based on nationality and organizational level. The results indicated that the employees had an overall positive attitude towards empowerment in the case company, and that there is a relationship between the perception of empowerment and nationality. It also suggested that the perception of empowerment diverges between the levels of a multicultural organization, where subordinates, lower managers and top managers experience situations differently. In addition, the results indicated that the organizational culture should be utilized in order to overcome the cultural and organizational differences in a multicultural organization, through recognizing and solving the main problems that could affect the perception of empowerment. Particularly through maintaining good communication, which is vital in terms of empowerment, it is possible to strengthen the organizational culture. This in turn could reinforce the employee empowerment, as aspects that positively affect this concept could be encouraged through the organizational culture.

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