Here's what employee empowerment looks like from the trenches. Workers in small businesses were more likely to feel they had authority to take action than those at large companies were, and more likely to believe that management would approve.

Percentage who say they have the authority to take this action:

Action Small businesses employees Large businesses employees
Stop work in progress to correct a problem 90% 80%
Intervene on a customer's behalf 86% 81%
Rework a product or redo a service 66% 64%
Make an exception to procedures 66% 60%
Replace merchandise 48% 32%
Refund money or authorize credit 33% 23%

Source: "Employee Attitudes on Teamwork, Empowerment, and Quality Improvement," a survey conducted by the Gallup Organization for the American Society for Quality Control, Milwaukee, October 1993.

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