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Participation and Involvement


There has been a recent trend for a greater participation of the workforce in decision making.



·      more ideas.

·      gains employees co-operation (resistance to necessary change is likely to be lessened, e.g., redundancy).

·      increases motivation.

·      less need for supervision.

·      better industrial relations (trade unions).



·      deciding upon which method of participation is best (see later notes).

·      costs (workers technical knowledge, training, expertise in finance).

·      time.

·      slower decision making.

·      there may be a conflict of interests.

·      workers may not want responsibility, managers are paid to make the best use of the company’s assets and the maximisation of profit in the long-term.


Methods of Participation

·      worker directors - employee representative on the board of directors.  Occurs frequently in Germany , but it is rare in the UK.

·      works council - employee representatives form a committee.  They have a right to influence policies involving employees and appoint a director to the main board.  Some UK companies are setting up work councils, e.g., BT and ICI.

·      Quality circles - voluntary group of employees (usually 5-12), meet during working hours to discuss problems relating to their work and they present their ideas to management.

·      Kaizen - Continuous improvement or “kaizen” is a philosophy of ongoing improvement

·      based around small changes involving everyone-managers and workers alike

·      consultative committees - employee representatives are consulted on issues such as health and safety or new developments.  They deal with issues affecting the whole firm.

·       Team briefings - the manager meets with employees regularly to discuss issues relevant to their work.  Objective is to make sure employees know and understand what they are doing and why.





E-mail Steve Margetts