There are great women who work each day in the public and private sector. Some of those women were pioneers of the Women’s Movement before there was a Women’s Movement. Bette Davis is quoted as saying, “When a man gives his opinion, he's a man. When a woman gives her opinion, she's a bitch.” (Ramsdale, 2014). Another more recent pioneer was a part of the Women’s Movement. Hillary Rodman Clinton is quoted as saying, “I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas, but what I decided to do was to fulfil my profession, which I entered before my husband was in public life” (Ramsdale, 2014). The trouble with empowerment is not that it is ineffective; the trouble lies in the miscommunication of the message that causes dysempowerment.
The root causes of Disempowerment can be viewed through a lens focused on affronts to the dignity of one or more of the players on the team. When the receiver of the message views comments, directions, actions, or body language to be disrespectful, empowerment is compromised (Smith, 2000, p. 101). The weight of the damage may not be easily weighed at the time of the perceived indignation. The impact varies greatly based on the gravity of the event and the witnesses to the affront who feel a likeness to the person who was impacted (p. 101). It is discussed by Dayne Smith, “Women at Work: Leadership for the Next Century” (2000), that different demographics and groups may be more vulnerable to the affronts, and based on their world views may be more or less impacted by a perceived affront (p. 101). Therefore, as leaders one must always be mindful of their actions and the message such actions are sending. An assumingly innocuous statement or action may cause a downward spiral to the work group or team. Feelings of empowerment can be impacted, and the buy-in of the work groups can be negatively impacted when women feel there are unfair barriers to their self-determined goals.
Psychological empowerment is explained as a motivator based on intrinsic task motivation, that is based on the perception of the individual tasks as motivators to the goal (p. 103). These motivators are related to having a choice in their work, to complete a task based on their ideas, that their work will have a positive impact on the organization and that they are valued as an employee (p. 103). Having affirmation of these personal motivators provides an avenue of engaged and energized workers. If an employee has perceived, a minimization of their work or their worth with the organization disempowerment can set in.
Disempowerment occurs when an event or a group of events is set into motion, and an individual(s) suffer from negative behaviors in response to an affront to their dignity. With the event, there is a likelihood of anger, resentment, and hostility as well as the loss of trust in the individual who caused the incident and a feeling of disengagement and a lack of motivation and cooperation (p. 104). ...