Carl D. Sweet

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Scott Graham, PhD


This thesis explores the use of employee empowerment as a means of improving organizational competitiveness in the marketplace. The methodology used is a case study of a small, private-sector company that used this strategy to improve its productivity, product quality and profitability. The results of this research were then examined to determine whether the successful practices identified in this organization can be applied to Air Force attempts to adopt employee empowerment. The paper summarizes the organizational characteristics generally present where employee empowerment has been successfully implemented, as reported in current management literature, including the following: (1) company culture conducive to empowerment, (2) effective employee training, (3) on-going management-employee communications, (4) flattened organizational structures and (5) salary and reward systems that compensate empowering behavior. It documents how the research was structured to identify the crucial organizational attributes necessary for empowerment, and to assess the benefits to be derived by an organization that is currently transitioning to an empowered work force. The results of this research were then used to offer recommendations for the implementation of the Air Force's own empowerment initiatives.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number



Presented to the Faculty of the Graduate School of Logistics and Acquisition Management of the Air Force Institute of Technology