I think that more clarification is needed in the question. Overall, I sense that it is valid, but I think that specific examples are needed. For example, I can see how the current job climate and the challenges economically would shrink empowerment opportunities, as managers are less likely to embrace risk in a risk averse environment. Yet, at the same time, I think that there is an understanding that the future workplace is something where employee approaches to problems have to be understood.
The fluid and dynamic aspect of the workplace is so amorphous and employee empowerment is essential to being able to diagnose and troubleshoot problems and situations that cannot even be contemplated or envisioned at this point. In this light, employee empowerment is encouraged and needed. Of course, more empowerment can always be needed. There are still companies and organizations that do not encourage empowerment, but I think that it is something that is present in the workplace today and while more of it could be seen, the demands of the current work setting in terms of a globalized workplace and one that is technology driven dictate its facilitation.