This research is an investigation of employee empowerment in the four star hotel industry. The study is based on a two tiered approach. The first component consists of an in-depth literary review and analysis. This includes a thorough examination academic work in the area of employee empowerment. From this review the researcher identifies categories and measurement tools for empowerment. The second component of the research involves an analysis of three four star hotels. This primary research provides an insightful and distinctive way of analysing employee empowerment in practice. Each organisational example is systematically set out in a consistent manner with distinct sections. This conformity was essential in ensuring that the results was presented in an objective and unbiased manner. The review of literature establishes notion of empowerment is plagued by conceptual ambiguities, inconsistency and a lack of persuasive supporting substantiation that there is no universal definition of empowerment. Nevertheless, the understanding that is gained from the research is that empowerment entails some additional employee autonomy. The results of the primary research echo this as there is no single industry accepted definition of the concept. Moreover findings highlight that the concept is defined within the parameters of individual organisations. Each organisation investigated had a different view and policy towards the empowerment of frontline employees. The level of autonomy experienced by employees varied between participating hotels from full discretion over tasks to ridged job descriptions. Additionally, the findings highlight a correlation between employee seniority and the level of empowerment in hierarchical structures. Finally the research uncovers the managerial motives behind the different empowerment strategies in each organisation.