Motivation and Empowerment Paper


The criminal justice field is one that centers on motivation and empowerment amongst employees. These are concepts that not only guide, but also maintain constructive behaviors. Motivation and empowerment are that force every professional needs to preserve their goals and ambitions. This paper will provide three academic theories of motivation including an explanation on each theory. It will also define empowerment and its components. Next, it will compare and contrast motivation and empowerment. In this paper there will also be an evaluation on the implications of empowerment and delegation in a criminal justice organization.

Lastly this paper will outline the theory of Transformational Leadership and contrast the roles of motivation and empowerment in leadership style. Define and state at least three (3) academic theories of motivation In any organization the key role of managers is the motivation of their personnel. This can be done in many different ways.

This section will discuss three academic theories on how to properly motivate employees.

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The first theory is Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory. This theory states that certain needs have to be met before an individual will work towards fulfilling other needs. The first set of needs that need to be met our survival needs; they include things such as food water and air. Until these needs are met an individual cannot focus on anything else the second set of needs would include safety and security. After these two sets of needs are met a person will work towards being accepted by their peers.

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Once a person has met these first three levels they can then concentrate on obtaining power and status. After person has gained some level of status they can then work towards self-fulfillment and doing things that make them feel complete. The next theory on motivation was developed by Douglas McGregor.

His theory X and theory Y give two different ideas on how management deals with motivating employees. Theory X has a dismal idea that humans dislike work and will work hard to avoid if possible. A manager using this theory will use coercion of punishment in order to ensure that tasks are completed in a timely manner and properly. It makes the assumption that the vast majorities of people are self-centered and lazy and have to be micromanaged. They rely takes more positive approach to motivating employees. Under this theory it is assumed that work and accomplishment can be satisfying in and of themselves. It assumes that people want to be successful and are willing to work for that success. No one theory will work for motivating every person.

A quality manager will look at all three of these theories and apply them to individuals as needed. In practice a manager needs to know what level of the hierarchy of needs an employee is at. Once the manager knows where the employee falls in this hierarchy he can work to help the employee to achieve the next level. Employees that fall under the X theory are poison in any organization. If an employee does not want work and dislikes workers they are not going to get any fulfillment from their work and will generally drag everyone else down with them. Having employees that are motivated to succeed, as described in the Y theory are essential for the success of any organization. Work is not just about meeting our basic needs, front organization be truly successful they must have employees that are passionate about their work and rewarded for their accomplishments.

Define empowerment and its components

Empowerment can be viewed differently by all. It is what allows us as individuals to take charge of our lives. This refers not only to our personal lives, but also in the work place, school, emotionally, healthy wise, etc… Empowerment focuses on gaining not only power, but also knowledge and understanding. In the work place empowerment can increase productivity and efficiency. According to Whisenand and McCain, “Feeling that we are empowered, that we are masters of our fate at work, is one of the strongest drives of career well-being and performance” (p.2). In the workplace empowerment involves the opening of external command-and-controls to include a person’s internal locus of control.

Compare and contrast motivation and empowerment

Motivation is predicated upon many different factors for different reasons. According to Spaulding (1995). People are motivated to do things predicated upon their personal wants and needs while this motivation can result in them becoming emboldened and empowered if they achieve what their motivations were predicated upon. Internal and external forces are what motivate people as they are aroused and become enthusiastic about certain motivations that cause them to engage in persistence and endure whatever is necessary to achieve their goals (Spaulding, 1995). The first part of motivation is a need, which is a desire to attain something such as money, friendship, recognition, achievement, etc. (Spaulding, 1995). The person is motivated to engage in behavior that will satisfy their needs, which cause them to become motivated to conduct whatever actions are necessitated to ensure that they are able to attain what they were motivated to attain.

This gives the personal internal satisfactions once they have attained their goals as they may be rewarded with either intrinsic rewards or extrinsic rewards. Intrinsic rewards are personal rewards that the person gives themselves while extrinsic rewards are those that are provided by outside sources such as promotions, pay increases, or other forms of acknowledgement from others for the person attaining their motivational goals (Spaulding, 1995). In reference to empowerment, there are elements of empowerment that ensure that the person feels empowered. This entails a person feeling empowered by learning a new skill, that will assist them in gaining their job, relationship, or other ventures that the person is attempting to attain (Spaulding, 1995). The knowledge and skills that a person receives, empowers them in regard to attaining their objectives. Empowerment is predicated upon the ability to understand the meaning and impact of their purpose, and subsequently apply this meaning and purpose toward their lives to become empowered to achieve their goals and objectives (Spaulding, 1995).

Competence or ability, especially a personal belief in one’s own competence is at the heart of accepted definitions of both empowerment and motivation (Spaulding, 1995). Analyze the implications of empowerment and delegation in a criminal justice organization. The criminal justice system law enforcement officer have a tremendous responsibility and work more independently away from direct supervisors. They have to use their discretion daily. According to Grove, “independent decision making. Similarly, the potential consequences-including liability-of police-citizen encounters necessitate careful accountability (Grove, 2007).” Empowerment is defined as a way of activating an enabling decision making in others. Empowerment is currently a popular concept with most police managers and supervisors but sometimes they are rather fearful of allowing employees to have completely open decision-making ability (Whisenand, 2014).

Law enforcement officers have to be educated in many subjects and often will come from many different backgrounds which helps promote diversity. Because of the independent work that the law enforcement officers do they are groomed to make decisions on their own. If law enforcement officers were not given the opportunity to make these independent decisions they would lose their sense of self-worth and lose their motivation (Grove, 2007). Proper delegation in the criminal justice system results in better performing law enforcement officers in which benefits the community overall. With a better caliber of law enforcement officers available to a department’s disposal there will be more respect and support from the community.

With the support of the community law enforcement officers will have a stronger commitment to their work and what they represent. Delegation allows for a police departments to build a stronger commitment, higher trust for the overall team, higher job skills and knowledge, and an improved timeline for prioritizing important tasks. The team overall benefits from delegation because they remain engaged in work, increased professional growth goals, better competency, higher self-confidence, and better top-notch officers retention (Whisenand, 2014). Define and describe the theory of Transformational Leadership and contrast the roles of motivation and empowerment in that style of leadership.

According to (2015), transformational leadership means the style of leadership in which the leader identifies the needed change, creates a vision to guide the change through inspiration, and executes the change with the commitment of the members of the group. Transformational leadership can be found at every level of an organization. According to Management Study Guide (2013), transformational leaders are ones that are daring, thoughtful thinkers, visionary, and inspiring. These types of people have a charismatic appeal. However charisma cannot alone change how an organization operates. In order for transformational leaders to make major changes, they must exhibit the following four factors.

Transformational leaders must first exhibit inspirational motivation. This type of person promotes consistent vision, mission, as well as a set of values to their staff members (Management Study Guide, 2013). A person with this type of vision knows what they want from every interaction, as well as the ability to provide staff members with meaning and challenge. They are also enthusiastic and optimistic regarding teamwork as well as commitment. Transformational leaders also exhibit intellectual stimulation. This type of leader will encourage others to be creative and innovative (Management Study Guide, 2013). This type of leader also encourages others to form new ideas and will never criticize them in front of other people. Intellectual stimulation leader focuses more on the “what” in problems instead of focusing on who’s to blame (Management Study Guide, 2013).

Transformational leaders also exhibit idealized influence. Idealized influence leaders believes that they should practice what they preach (Management Study Guide, 2013). This type of leader acts as a role model, they also will put their follower’s needs over theirs, they will sacrifice their personal gains for their followers, and they will demonstrate high standards of ethical conduct (Management Study Guide, 2013). Transformational leaders also exhibit individualized consideration. This type of leader will act as a mentor to others and will most often reward them for their innovation as well as their creativity (Management Study Guide, 2013). Employees or followers are treated according to their knowledge as well as their talents. Leaders who fit into this group are usually empowered to make decisions as well as provided with the support that is needed to implement these decisions (Management Study Guide, 2013).


Employees who are motivated are the most important factor for the success of any business. Empowerment impacts motivation and motivation leads to better performance. To truly motivate employees to perform at their best, one must first provide a working environment that enables employees to have recognition, achievement, advancement, growth, and meaningful work.

Gove, T. G., M.P.A. (2007). Empowerment and accountability: Tools for law
enforcement leaders. FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, 76(9), 8-13. Retrieved from Management Study Guide. (2013). Transformational Leadership Theory. Retrieved from Peak, K. J. (2012). Justice administration: Police, courts, and corrections management (7th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall Spaulding, C. (1995). Motivation or empowerment: What is the difference? Language Arts, 72(7), 489. Retrieved from Transformational Leadership. (2015). In Retrieved from Whisenand, P. M., & Ferguson, R. F. (2014). Managing police organizations (8th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Updated: Aug 22, 2022
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Motivation and Empowerment Paper. (2016, Sep 24). Retrieved from

Motivation and Empowerment Paper essay
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