Article | California Management Review

Enfranchisement of Service Workers

by Leonard A. Schlesinger and James Heskett


Enfranchisement is achieved through an integration of empowerment with methods of pay for performance. Evidence from Ito Yokado Group in Japan and Nordstrom in the US demonstrates the positive effects of enfranchisement. Successful efforts to enfranchise employees: 1. reflect the culture of the organization or individual department in which it is being implemented, 2. grant employees varying degrees of control over operating decisions and compensation, 3. involve efforts to encourage communication from lower to higher ranks of the organization, and 4. make an array of resources available to employees to help them succeed. Major challenges to implementation include: 1. the scarcity of unit managers with the human and technical skills to interpret policies associated with enfranchisement, 2. the unwillingness of middle management to support enfranchisement, 3. the perception of management as unfair by associates, and 4. the inadequate conditioning of participants' expectations.

Keywords: Motivation and Incentives; Franchise Ownership; Employees; Compensation and Benefits; Service Industry; Japan; United States;


Schlesinger, Leonard A., and James Heskett. "Enfranchisement of Service Workers." California Management Review 33, no. 4 (Summer 1991).