Control or Flexibility? Structured Empowerment Offers Both - Lessons from Retail & Service Chains (Abridged)
This note explains how several retail and service organizations use a practice described here as "structured empowerment" to balance control and flexibility as they grow. I define structured empowerment as a practice that grants employees both (a) the power to make choices from narrow sets of options on a set of inputs and processes and (b) the responsibility to deliver results according to the company's value proposition. This lets a company control operations-by standardizing the options frontline employees can choose from to drive results-and adapt to diverse markets-because combining choices from the options makes a large number of service offerings and routine sequences possible. This abridged version of the note does not reference the case "OXXO's Turf War Against Extra." It is intended to be used in a classroom setting where "OXXO's Turf War Against Extra" is also being taught, abridged so that it does not give away any relevant information about the case.