As the management / employee ratio declines in service organizations the typical response is turn to empowerment to allow employees more local authority in making decisions regarding the customer. This does tend to reduce the problem associated with management / employee ratio decline. The more fundamental response to this situation is to develop more cost effective processes for the organization, which would also reduce the pressure due to management / employee ratio decline. One of the annoying side effects of this structure is that empowerment programs often increase employees belief in pleasing the customer, which is not a bad thing in itself, unless the costs overshadow the benefits, and that this side effect reduces the likelihood that effort will be spent to develop cost effective processes. This description is depicted as a Causal Loop Diagram in Fig. 1.
The resultant structure in Fig. 1 actually represents a Shifting the Burden Systems Archetype.
- Diagram created with Vensim
- Empowerment Limit
- Kim, Daniel and Anderson, Virginia (1998) System Archetype Basics: From Story to Structure. Pegasus Communications
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Systems Thinking World Q&A * Gene Bellinger