Definition: According to Ledwith (2005), "Empowerment is not an alternative solution to the redistribution of unequally divided resources." Empowerment is more than providing the resources for one to help themselves out of poverty, it is the act of providing the necessary tools to shape the whole person and promote a critical way of thinking and consciousness. (Ledwith 2005).
Application: This theory can be applied to development work through the action of going to a community and waiting on the outside to be invited in. The idea of "treading lightly" is to work alongside individuals and not possess an overarching power. Action needs to be taken through advocating for change on both an individual, community, and policy level. Empowerment can be attained through working together and forming a collective state of consciousness that promotes and encourages change.
Adapt: This theory could be adapted into an office business amongst the employment team. Instead of the leadership exerting power over their "trainees," the empowerment theory could be used to promote a collective voice in the work environment. This theory, when executed correctly and collectively, has the potential to change the face of business centers and the ways in which people of power interact with people of lesser power in the business world.
Source: Ledwith, M. (2005). Community Development (pp. 1-55). Portland: Policy