Structural Empowerment

People feel powerless when they are not able to live a comfortable life and pursue their hopes and dreams.

There are certain "structures" that everybody requires to meet their basic physical and security needs. These structures are required so that a person can live where and how they want and to realize their aspirations.

Identifying structural powerlessness:

  1. Do you have the information and knowledge that you need for life and the pursuit of your ambitions?
  2. Do you have the money or the means to get enough money to live comfortably and to pursue your dreams?
  3. Are you being given the opportunities to be a success in life?
  4. Do you have the help and support from others that will help you be successful in life?

The more "no" answers, the greater the sense of structural powerlessness.



Structural Empowerment occurs when people are given the opportunity, the information, resources, and the support needed to succeed in work or life. Individuals and organizations structurally empower people when they help others gain the resources they need to control their environment and lives.

Power in organizations has been defined as having access to organizational structures in the work environment through lines of communication, support, information, and resources that offer workers the opportunities to share in decision-making processes, assist in the control of resources, and to grow into their jobs. Using this definition, structural empowerment, therefore, is about having access to "structures" that will allow a person more control over their lives. There are four primary structures necessary for controlling one's life.

  1. Information is having the knowledge that is required for successful living in today's society. We live in the information age and those with more knowledge have more power.
  2. Resources includes the capacity of the individual to access the materials, funds, supplies, time, and equipment required to accomplish goals.
  3. Opportunities to advance and succeed are necessary.
  4. Support in the form of guidance and feedback helps keep the individual on track and moving forward.

To structurally empower someone is to help them gain the information, resources, opportunities, and support that they need.

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