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Workers Participation in Mgt

Workers Participation in Mgt



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Published by niyati

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Published by: niyati on Jun 15, 2009
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Three groups of managerial decisions affect the workers of any industrial establishmentand hence the workers must have a say in it.► Economic decisions – methods of manufacturing, automation, shutdown, lay-offs,mergers.► Personnel decisions – recruitment and selection, promotions, demotions, transfers,grievance settlement, work distribution.►Social decisions – hours of work, welfare measures, questions affecting work rulesand conduct of individual worker’s safety, health, sanitation and noise control.Participation basically means
sharing the decision-making power with the lower ranks of the organization in an appropriate manner.
The concept of WPM is a broad and
complex one. Depending on the socio-politicalenvironment and cultural
conditions, the scope and contents of participation change.International
Institute of Labour Studies: WPM is the participation resulting from thepractices which increase the scope for employees’ share of influence in decision-makingat different tiers of organizational hierarch with concomitant assumption of responsibility.ILO: Workers’ participation, may broadly be taken to cover all terms of association of workers and their representatives with the decision-making process, ranging fromexchange of information, consultations, decisions and negotiations, to moreinstitutionalized forms such as the presence of workers’ member on management or supervisory boards or even management by workers themselves as practiced inYugoslavia.
According to Gosep, workers’ participation may be viewed as:► An instrument for increasing the efficiency of enterprises and establishing harmoniousrelations;► A device for developing social education for promoting solidarity among workers andfor tapping human talents;► A means for achieving industrial peace and harmony which leads to higher productivity and increased production;► A humanitarian act, elevating the status of a worker in the society;► An ideological way of developing self-management and promoting industrialdemocracy.
Other objectives of WPM can be cited as:► To improve the quality of working life (QWL) by allowing the workers greater influenceand involvement in work and satisfaction obtained from work; and► To secure the mutual co-operation of employees and employers in achieving industrialpeace; greater efficiency and productivity in the interest of the enterprise, the workers,the consumers and the nation.The
main implications of workers’ participation in management as summarized by ILO:► Workers have ideas which can be useful;► Workers may work more intelligently if they are informed about the reasons for andthe intention of decisions that are taken in a participative atmosphere.
Unique motivational power and a great psychological value.Peace and harmony between workers and management.Workers get to see how their actions would contribute to the overall growth of thecompany.They tend to view the decisions as `their own’ and are more enthusiastic intheir implementation.Participation makes them more responsibleo They become more willing to take initiative and come out with cost-saving suggestionsand growth-oriented ideas.
Scope and ways of participation:
One view is that workers or the trade unions should, as equal partners, sit with themanagement and make joint managerial decisions.The other view is that workers should only be given an opportunity, through their representatives, to influence managerial decisions at various levels.In practice, the participation of workers can take place by one or all the methods listedbelow:► Board level participation► Ownership participation► Complete control► Staff or work councils► Joint councils and committees► Collective Bargaining► Job enlargement and enrichment► Suggestion schemes► Quality circles► Empowered teams► TQM► Financial participation
Participation at the Board level:
This would be the highest form of industrial democracy.The workers’ representative on the Board can play a useful role in safeguarding theinterests of workers.He or she can serve as a guide and a control element.▪He or she can prevail upon top management not to take measures that would beunpopular with the employees.▪He or she can guide the Board members on matters of investment in employee benefitschemes like housing, and so forth.The Government of India took the initiative and appointed workers’ representativeson the Board of Hindustan Antibiotics (Pune), HMT (Bangalore), and even nationalizedbanks.The Tatas, DCM, and a few others have adopted this practice.Problems
associated with this method:▪ Focus of workers’ representatives is different from the focus of the remaining membersof the Board.▪ Communication and subsequently relations between the workers’ representative andthe workers suffers after the former assumes directorship.He or she tends to become
alienated from the workers.▪ As a result, he or she may be less effective with the other members of the Board indealing with employee matters.▪ Because of the differences in the cultural and educational backgrounds, anddifferences in behaviour and manners, such an employees’ representative may feelinferior to the other members, and he or she may feel suffocated. Hence, his or her roleas a director may not be satisfying for either the workers or the management.▪ Such representatives of workers’ on the Board, places them in a minority. And thedecisions of the Board are arrived at on the basis of the majority vote.
Participation through ownership:
This involves making
the workers’ shareholders of the company by inducing them tobuy equity shares.▪ In many cases, advances and financial assistance in the form of easy repayment ptionsare extended to enable employees to buy equity shares.Examples of this method are available in the manufacturing as well as the servicesector.
▪ Makes the workers committed to the job and to the organization.Drawback:
▪ Effect on participation is limited because ownership and management are two differentthings.
Participation through complete control:
Workers acquire
complete control of the management through elected boards.The system of 
self-management in Yugoslavia is based on this concept.Self-management
gives complete control to workers to manage directly all aspects of 

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