Much like "synergizing", and "revolutionizing paradigms", the concept of "employee empowerment" is one that was thought up in a board meeting with a bunch of fat cats trying to determine the easiest method to get away with paying their employees as little as possible. Employees don't need to be "empowered" -- they just need to be respected, and part of that respect is paying them what they're really worth.
Most companies say that they empower their employees but in reality they just give the illusion of empowerment to keep the employee content. A majority of the big companies only care about themselves and they care very little about a majority of their employees. To them it is easy to gain employees if they lose some. They just want to keep their employees content while they exploit them.
I think that companies can definately do more in terms of trying to make their employees believe that they have the power to make a difference in their jobs as well as improve the workplace. I think at the end of the day, companies are more concerned about making money thank making sure their employees are happy.
I do not think companies like to teach employee empowerment. At least, not to the mid to lower level employees. It would give them to much of a voice and then they would voice their opinions. If they were able to voice their opinions, then the companies would have to treat their employees better. Which would result in less money for the top echelon people of the company.
I do not believe companies do enough to encourage employee empowerment. My last employer was a micro-managing crack pot and most of the places I have worked at fail to empower their employees, they simply use them as a line to defend themselves from their customers. Companies don't want to empower employees they just want a defensive line to protect them from their customers.