Attempts to encourage a more reflective and guarded analysis of empowerment. Traces the political and economic factors which have facilitated the development of a particular notion of empowerment in the UK and outlines a dual critique of empowerment. Notes the insubstantial body of rights offered under empowerment schemes and argues that these schemes may be regarded as control initiatives. Returns the concept of empowerment to the domain of political philosophy in an attempt to demonstrate that successful empowerment schemes may serve to repress key groups in the workplace. Concludes by urging organizational development practitioners to adopt a more radical view of power which can acknowledge the complex dynamics of the workplace.