Avatar of Ansie

by Ansie

DIE POSMEESTER

November 20, 2012 in Uncategorized

Ons posbus – my man se rekenmeesterspraktyk se posbus – is geblok. Die boodskap wat ek kry is dat dit as gevolg van ‘n oorsese pakkie is, geadresseer aan my, Anna, waarop ‘n boete is. Nou ja, dan moet ek poskantoor toe en gaan uitvind wat dit is, want ek verwag geen posstuk van oorsee nie. Indien ek ‘n posstuk sou ontvang van oorsee, sou dit vooraf reeds betaal gewees het. Manlief dring aan om saam te gaan, want hy wil daardie posmeester op sy plek gaan sit. Hoe durf hy sy posbus blok as ons dan geen kennisgewing ontvang het dat daar so ‘n posstuk gearriveer het waarop ‘n boete is nie. Dit is tog immers hoe dit altyd gedoen was.

Ek ry met my klein blou motortjie en hy met sy groot wit bakkie, want van die poskantoor af gaan ek huis toe, Hermanus toe en hy terug na sy kantoor in die groot voorstad. Hy doen al amper 40 jaar lank besigheid in die groot voorstad en was een van die eerste posbus huurders van die groot poskantoor in die groot voorstad en nog nooit het enige posmeester sy posbus geblok nie. Maar mens moet darem net eers gaan uitvind, dink ek.

Ek is nog besig om vir die dametjie te verduidelik dat ek daar is om uit te vind watse posstuk waarvoor ek nie ‘n kennisgewing ontvang het die probleem veroorsaak, toe manlief beveel dat die posmeester geroep moet word. Duidelik besef hy dat die dametjie nie gemagtig is om posbusse te blok nie. Net die posmeester is.

Die posmeester daag op en wil ewe vriendelik weet waarmee hy kan help. Manlief val weg met “waar kom hy vandaan om … dit is nie hoe dit gedoen word … nog nooit tevore van so ‘n reël gehoor …” Die posmeester probeer verduidelik dat dit ‘n ander geval is die, maar manlief se ‘Johari Venster” is groot oop daar waar hy vertel, maar die kant waar hy moet terugvoer kry en luister is maar op ‘n klein skrefie oop. Ek kom agter die man probeer verduidelik en ek moet manlief vra om tog net eers te LUISTER.

Daar was glo ‘n werknemer met die naam van Anna wat ‘n oorsese KBA pakkie kom afhaal het waarop R750 betaal moes word. Ene Anna het ‘n kredietkaart aangebied, maar daar was ‘n stelsel probleem en Anna het die onervare toonbank assistent geboelie om ‘n tjek te aanvaar. Ek voel verward. Ek raak wel bietjie verstrooid en my geheue laat my soms in die steek, maar van so ‘n voorval weet ek niks.

Die tjek het gehop en hulle sukkel nou al drie maande lank om vir Anna op te spoor. Aangesien ek die enigste bekende Anna is, het junior vennoot aanvaar dat ek die sondebok was. Ek haal my tjekboek uit – nuut, skoon en nooit gebruik, want ek doen geen betalings per tjek nie en ek doen geen KBA bestellings nie. Alles vooruit betaal.

Die posmeester nooi ons na sy kantoor. Hy maak ‘n oproep en in ‘n japtrap het ons ‘n afskrif van die tjek. Die tjek behoort aan ‘n ander besigheid by ‘n ander straatadres. Sien, meeste van manlief se kliënte gebruik die praktyk se adres as geregistreerde adres. Nou hoe op aarde kry ‘n kliënt dit reg om iets KBA van oorsee te bestel na ons posbus en kry dan die kennisgewing om dit by die poskantoor te gaan afhaal? Dit is nog die raaisel.

Met manlief gekalmeer, of nee net ten opsigte van die posmeester, maar nou woedend vir die kliënt wat ook nie haar rekening by hom betaal nie, beken die posmeester dat dit vir hom die grootste onregverdigheid is dat die arme onervare toonbankassistent nou verantwoordelik gehou word vir die bedrag. Dit is die dat hy dit op hom geneem het om alles in sy vermoë te doen, selfs om hom die woede van ‘n jare lange posbushuurder op die hals te haal, om die skuldenaar op te spoor. Hy het geweet hy sou reaksie kry en het natuurlik gehoop die skuldige is beter bekend aan die posbushuurder.

Toe manlief belowe hy sal die skuldenaar opspoor en eerste die poskantoor se geld uit haar kry voor hy sy geld kry, raak die posmeester skoon bewoë. ‘n Amptenaar met magte is ook maar net ‘n mens.

Avatar of Ansie

by Ansie

WHAT EMPOWERMENT REALLY MEANS

October 16, 2012 in Uncategorized

What do you think when you hear the word, empowerment? I once booked a venue to present a learning programme for managers on mentorship towards empowerment. When the venue owner heard it was about empowerment, she immediately exclaimed: “Oh, Bee-ee-ee!”
Empowerment as a concept came to the forefront with the introduction of Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) into the South African economic and political scene. The use of the term escalated when the new political dispensation came into being in 1994. Political, social and educational empowerment primarily seeks to give people a greater say in their own destiny and the opportunity to have a fair and equal chance of achieving a respectable level of employment and standard of living.
Reflect for a moment on the expression, a cloud on the horizon. It means that there is a problem ahead. If you see a cloud on the horizon in reality, what do you think? Different people may have different thoughts on it. The housewife may have second thoughts about doing her washing. For the farmer it may hold promise of rain and a good crop. A cricket player may wonder if rain is going to interrupt the match. The concept, empowerment, has become a controversial issue with different connotations for different groups of people, raising hopes for some, but fear and scepticism among others.
The good intentions of empowerment initiatives may be hampered by wrong impressions, which, in turn, can limit the benefits. A major potential danger is that economic benefits to individuals or groups of people through empowerment enjoy greater prominence than the building of competence, confidence and improved performance in general.

Avatar of Ansie

by Ansie

RESILIENCE

June 25, 2012 in Uncategorized

“Resilience is not simply the ability to carry on after experiencing a difficulty, but rather a person’s belief in his or her ability to overcome any setback and to match or even exceed previous levels of empowerment because of the learning experience the failure provided.” True Empowerment in the Workplace by Ansie Thirion-Fourie p. 71.

Avatar of Ansie

by Ansie

TEMPORARY DISEMPOWERMENT

June 11, 2012 in Uncategorized

Standing alongside a road, looking at your car in the middle of the road with a buckled front wheel and noticing helplessly the chaos your accident caused … knowing that there is nothing at that moment you can do about the whole situation. How could that have happened? How could I have not seen the parked car or misjudged my distance from it?

That was then – five days ago. But do I still have to feel that way? At the moment I don’t feel like ever getting back into my car again. Well it will take some time to get it fixed. Maybe I should get a smaller car. Maybe I should never put my trust in a GPS again. Maybe I should just be more alert while driving instead of taking in the environment and watching the GPS.

It was my fault. I take full responsibility for it. As I explain in my book, True Empowerment in the Workplace, people who are psychologically empowered are those with an internal locus of control. Internals accept responsibilty for their mistakes and not blame it on external factors.

Avatar of Ansie

by Ansie

OPPORTUNITY MANAGEMENT

May 9, 2012 in Uncategorized

Adopting an opportunity orientation implies that managers and employees should be aware of every conceivable opportunity that may contribute to the development and growth of employees. In testing perceptions about empowerment, I found that opportunity is a critical component. It was mentioned in almost every interview I conducted with employees. Some felt that they did not have any opportunities, some felt it is something they are entitled to and others were grateful for the opportunities they had. If opportunity is such a big issue, it is something that needs attention. Opportunities should be managed if an organisation is striving to empower their employees. Read more about it in my book, True empowerment in the workplace.

Avatar of Ansie

by Ansie

PSYCHOLOGICAL EMPOWERMENT = TRUE EMPOWERMENT

February 10, 2012 in Uncategorized

Authors and researchers call attention to an element of empowerment without which all other efforts to empower will not be substantial enough to make a meaningful contribution to the experience of empowerment. They strive to drive home a notion of empowerment that is not just structural or mechanistic, but includes concepts, such as self-efficacy, experience of mastery, intrinsic task motivation, psychological energy, psychological empowerment, motivational power and competent influence.

Empowerment per se is a concept widely used within management literature, while psychological empowerment has its origin in cognitive psychology. In defining empowerment, researchers from the sociological tradition focus on the granting, transfer or sharing of power, that is, the act of empowering. In contrast, researchers from the psychological tradition focus on the cognitions of the individual being empowered, that is, the internal process or psychological state of the individual. For example, the verb to empower can be defined as to enable, to allow or to permit, the act of developing and increasing power, while from the cognitive perspective empowerment is define as a process of enhancing individuals’ belief in their ability that result in feelings of competence, which implies a psychological state. From this perspective psychological empowerment is conceptualised as a cognitive state involving beliefs, feelings and experiences.

Avatar of Ansie

by Ansie

STRUGGLE WITH PUBLISHERS

February 8, 2012 in Uncategorized

My but I am a sporadic blogger. I have forgotten my username and password and how to do this. Welcome back to myself.

My main purpose for doing a doctorate on the subject of psychological empowerment was to write a book afterwards. To achieve this aim, I have been through many processes. First I submitted proposals to publishers. Some never replied and some responded negatively – promptly. Follow-up responses from NB was quite unexpected. From “it does’nt ring a bell” to “the editor retired and nobody has been appointed yet.” I am still waiting. No, I mean I am definitely not waiting for them, but I have still not received a reply.

I then decided and was encouraged by my husband to publish myself. I got the ISBN number, designed the front page myself and had 10 copies printed with the print-on-demand option for review. I paid a professional editor to edit it. I sent copies to people in the management environment (managers and management development) to review. Some struggled to get through the book because it was still too academic. I got some valuable feedback and started to make amendmends.

But as the book was based on my thesis, I had to obtain permission from UNISA. No reply after a year. I then tackled their website and enquired with the law department whether I should just continue and publish my book. I was quickly referred to competent people, but still their was a process to be followed. That did not go smooth and I had to follow-up and push to get it through.

In this process of getting permission, Unisa Press indicated interest and asked me to submit a proposal. I did that in good time well in advance long before the comitee was supposed to make a decision. This only gave the secretary enough time to misplace my application and the comitee sat and my proposal was not considered.

Follow-up, resubmit and wait.

It was accepted in principle, but now the manuscript had to be reviewed. Two reviewers were appointed. They had 6 months to review and report.

One reviewer was on time and his/her report was quite positive. The second one asked for extension of time and his/her report missed the meaning and intention with the book completely and suggested that it could be published on the condition that extensive changes be made. It almost meant rewriting MY book.

I told Unisa Press, thank you but no thank you.

For about a year I was side tracked and it is only recently that I was inspired to take the publication of my book up again, but first as an e-book.

Watch this space.

Avatar of Ansie

by Ansie

Perceptions again

February 19, 2009 in Uncategorized

I am back after one year and four months.  I was working hard, but I have done it.  

Let me go back to my first posting when I wrote about perceptions.  I have done an analysis of the media by tracking all reports that contain the word, empowerment, over a period. 

The news media gave far more attention to economic empowerment than any other form of empowerment. News about economic empowerment in the business paper was reported in a positive light and presented as beneficial, but in the mass media it often goes hand in hand with reports of corruption and failure to meet expectations.

Where are the success stories?  I am sure there are plenty.

I interviewed employees and although the influence of policies, practices and legislation, as well as political influences regarding appointments, were apparent, it seemed that perceptions in general are that empowerment is meant to uplift, train and provide opportunities for people to get ahead, be able to do their jobs well and be an asset in the organisation as well as the community. Those who revealed a predominant political understanding were in the minority, while there was a tendency to give recognition to the political influence, but at the same time see the enabling meaning in the word. The majority of the participants, however, gave accounts of the meaning of the word that has nothing to do with politics.

Fairness was mentioned in a sense that it is acceptable that affirmative action must happen and that it is fair when the decision was considered as reasonable and the an acceptable procedure was applied. These tendencies were explained as perceived fairness in social exchange. Fairness is perceived when persons who have made large contributions receive relatively large outcomes or rewards, according to the rule for evaluating fairness: distributive justice or equity. Fairness is not perceived when individuals who made large contributions receive less than what they expected as outcomes as was the case with some participants, who worked hard and then somebody whom they perceived as less deserving got the coveted position.  Employees make their own judgements about the relative size of the contributions they made and the outcomes they received. Therefore, one person may see fairness where another perceives unfairness.

The observation was also that participants realise that empowerment is a shared responsibility between the organisation that provide opportunities and the individual who makes use of it and become enabled to take on the responsibility for their own growth. However, it was encouraging to learn that the true meaning of empowerment is recognised.

Avatar of Ansie

by Ansie

Absence – Absenteeism

October 29, 2007 in Uncategorized

 

I am guilty of the first. When I started blogging it was with good intentions, but soon found out how time consuming it is. I envy all you bloggers that have the time to daily post something.

Did you know that absenteeism is a symptom of a sick organisation? Of course you did.

Since my last entry, I have completed the quantitative part of my research, which is not the most important part. I don’t actually like stats. It is just numbers and it does not tell you a lot. But the interesting thing that I found is that management practices correlate strongly with psychological empowerment.

Are you a manager and do you have problems with your staff with absenteeism? Actually absenteeism is not part of my study. How people feel about themselves is. Do your subordinates have autonomy? Autonomy is prevalent when employees are allowed to plan and schedule their work as they choose and it enhances the experience of empowerment, especially a sense of self-determination. People who have autonomy, feel good about themselves.

Avatar of Ansie

by Ansie

A South African Definition

September 10, 2007 in Uncategorized

 

Psychological empowerment, according to the literature, is a process whereby an individual’s belief in his or her worth is enhanced and thereby also enhancing feelings of self-efficacy.

Gretchen Spreitzer conducted a study in 1992 in the USA and identified a set of dimensions from interviews with individuals on their personal experiences of empowerment in the workplace. From the results she described four dimensions or fundamental beliefs and personal orientations that are characteristic of most empowered people:

Empowered people have a sense of meaning; they feel that their work is important to them; and they care about what they are doing.

Empowered people have a sense of competence; that they are confident about their ability to do their work well; and they know they can perform.

Empowered people have a sense of self-determination, which means that they are free to choose how to do their work; they are not micro-managed.

Finally, empowered people have a sense of impact; they believe they can have influence on their work unit; and others listen to their ideas.

These are not specific management practices, but rather characteristics reflecting personal experiences or beliefs about their role in the organisation.

Other authors depicted psychological empowerment as perceptions of personal control, a proactive approach to life, beliefs that goals can be achieved, awareness about resources and factors that hinder or enhance one’s efforts to achieve those goals, and the amount of work people are prepared to put in in order to fulfil these goals.

And now I want to find out how South Africans feel and experience empowerment in the workplace by conducting in-depth interviews. If you ask people what they believe about themselves, you get as many different answers as there are people.

What sounds better?

I belief I try my best; or

I have the ability to do my work and perform well.