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Empowerment – HR Strategies for Service Excellence reviewed


Title: Empowerment - HR Strategies for Service Excellence
Author: Conrad Lashley
Publisher: Butterworth-Heinmann
ISBN: 0750652446
Format: Paperback, 256 pages
Date: April 2001

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There are thriteen comprehensive chapters in this scholar's book. For example, Chapter 1. Understanding Empowerment contains A Framework of Analysis, Definitions and Meanings, The Empowerment Organization and Researching Empowerment

Conrad Lashley in his introduction to Empowerment explains that it is a second edition of the textbook, Empowering Service Excellence: Beyond the Quick Fix, by Cassells (Lashley, 1997). Lashley wishes, as he says, "to make a robust case for an understanding of empowerment at work that considers the 'state' of being empowered."

He notes that, "A dominant position for advocate writers is that empowerment is a democratic process."
He observes that others "criticize empowerment", (Wilkinson, 1998; Collins, 1999), for not being democratic because it is management dominated. The flaw is on both sides. He says, "They rarely look at the 'psychological state', that is 'how it feels'. He asks, "Are the employees glad to be empowered, or are there real issues?"
Lashley suggests, "Service workers suffer stress by having to supply 'emotional labour', a display of emotions in service interaction with customers that they don't actually feel."

Conrad Lashley is Professor of Hospitality Retailing at Leeds Metropolitan University. The text uses case studies from the author's consultancy with McDonald's, TGI Fridays and Harvester Restaurants. The book uses tables, charts and careful documentation of indepth research. There is an extensive reference list and index.

Professor Lashley is a series editor for Butterworth-Heinmann's Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure Series. The book jacket explains that this Series is aimed at both academic courses and management development targets. Professor Lashley works "closely" with the British Institute of Innkeeping and Scottish and Newcastle Retail.

This is a management curriculum textbook for those who are exploring an academic view in a scientific and analytical framework. If one is a serious student of the hospitality industry worker, as well as management issues the text is an interesting and provocative discussion of the most recent state of affairs of empowerment.

Reviewed By Ann Lurie Berlin, Fiddleheads, Ltd.


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