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1. Worker Participation
2. Employee Involvement
Learning Objectives Gain an insight into employee voice mechanisms Define and differentiate between participation and involvement Examine forms of participation and involvement Consider the potential consequences of increased involvement and participation .
Participation does not imply a common interest. employee (or trade union. business goals.What do we mean by employee participation and involvement? Participation and involvement are often used in an imprecise way Involvement is an employer-led agenda and is concerned with encouraging workers to identify with. It is an Employee voice can take many forms and can be weak or strong Following Marchington and Wilkinson (2005). we can conceive of an ‘escalator’ of employee involvement and participation . It implies a common interest. and work towards. or sometimes government) led agenda relating to workers having a ‘collective voice’ in decision making.
The ‘escalator of participation’ (adapted from Marchington and Wilkinson 2000: 343) control co-determination consultation communication information .
Worker Participation • Participation as the distribution and exercise of power between workers and managers • • Promotion of participation The purpose of participation o workers’ control .
High Worker Participation Low PARTICIPATION Management unilateralism in decision making Receipt of information Joint consultation over decisions already made or which minimise participation Joint Joint regulation consultation of decisions prior to decision making Managers share power over decisions Managers encourage cooperation but retain power over decisions .
Participation in the UK: Ongoing decline Reasons for low participation • • Many decisions made at a high level UK management hostility ‘right to manage’ Participation and the business cycle • • participation high during labour shortages etc neutralise opposition .
Employee Involvement (EI) Increased interest in this area Promotion of employee involvement • Generally initiated by employers/management on a voluntary basis The purpose of involvement • unitarist and business-centred • often limited to information provision • communicative involvement o e. suggestion boxes .g..
Management Objectives for EI Informing and ‘educating’ workers about the organisation Engendering worker commitment and higher levels of job satisfaction Reducing labour turnover and absence levels Getting ideas from workers about how to improve work processes Gaining co-operation for change Complying with external regulations .
indirect. trivia to strategy Form. financial .Characteristics of EI Degree. workplace to corporate headquarters Scope of subject matter. the escalator of EI Level. direct.
Direct EI Direct EI involves a direct relationship between managers and employees. Forms of Direct EI: Downward communications and Upward problem-solving: .
Downward communication in practice Downward communication: team briefing. managers may be concerned that disclosing information will undermine their own position Team briefings are often dispensed with because of the pressure of work Unions are sometimes concerned about downward communication because management is bypassing union representatives . newsletters. emails. employee reports. videos. facebook. twitter Managers tend to prefer oral rather than written forms of communication However.
Upward problem solving • Quality circles. suggestion schemes and attitude surveys • The objective is to increase cooperation and the stock of ideas available to companies . task forces.
job enlargement and job enrichment Team-working: on-line teams.Work Redesign Task-based participation: job rotation. multi-task teams and self- managed teams .
Profit-related pay schemes.Indirect and Financial EI Indirect EI involves management and employee representatives (dealt with in earlier lectures). Joint consultation. works councils and worker directors (collective bargaining?) Financial involvement . profit sharing and employee share ownership (worker co-operatives?) .an element of reward is linked to the performance of the company or establishment.
Embedding EI at the Workplace Presence or absence of specific EI practices Breadth of coverage of EI: number of different forms Depth of coverage of EI: degree to which consolidated at workplace Bundles of supportive EI practices or contradictory tendencies of interest ‘Cycles’ (Ramsay. 1993) . 1977) or ‘Waves’ (Marchington et al.
‘Cycles’ of Interest Ramsay (1977) argued that interest in EI/EP was cyclical and represented a response to challenges from organised labour He rejected the then popular view that EI/EP initiatives reflected the gradual ‘humanisation’ of capitalism Instead. EI/EP was viewed as a means of incorporating workers and worker representatives Interest would wane once the threat to managerial authority had been dissipated .
‘Waves’ of interest The ‘cycles’ theory was criticised by Ackers et al. products and services) Ackers et al. when organised labour was relatively weak Management’s interest in participation can be stimulated by phenomena other than the strength of organised labour (e. argued that it is better to think of interest as occurring in waves within individual organisations.g. (1992) They argued that the theory could not account for employers’ enthusiasm for EI in the 1980s and 1990s. . concern with quality of processes. concern with customer care.
2003) Team briefings JCC Problem solving groups Share ownership 1994 1996 1998 2000 2002 .Movements of EI schemes within an organisation over time (adapted from Marchington et al.
Impact of EI Workers Managers and supervisors Trade unions Organisational performance and innovation .
Contested meanings Education Liberating De-layering Team work Responsibility Indoctrination Controlling Intensification Peer group pressure Surveillance Commitment Compliance .
productivity and customer service Adding value to profitability. corporate reputation and long- term performance .Impact of EI on Organisations Increases in worker commitment. satisfaction and fair treatment Improvements in behavioural indicators such as turnover and absence Enhancing levels of quality.
this may not be true of more junior and line managers Supervisors may react negatively to initiatives that have been taken without consulting them They may find themselves too overworked to ensure that EI initiatives operate effectively They may not be sufficiently trained to ensure the initiative works .Management support for EI EI schemes may fail because of lack of support from line management Even if senior managers are committed.
Strategic Questions • • • • • How far should employees be involved in decision making? Should employee involvement be direct or through representation? What form should the involvement take? At what organisational level should involvement take place? What issues should be subject to involvement? .