CHAPTER 3 Employee Involvement and Participation: Contemporary Theory and Practice
Descriptions Employee involvement (EI) • In simple terms, employee involvement is a process usually initiated by management to increase the information given to the employees in order to enhance their commitment to the organisation and its business objectives. Employee participation (EP) • In this context, employee participation refers to collective rather than individual processes, which enable employees and/or their representatives to influence decision-making processes in the organisation.
Consideration of some initial key issues surrounding EI/EP • The willingness of managers to be involved with EI/EP (whether subconscious or otherwise) may affect: • the degreeto which EI/EP can be achieved in practice. • In practical terms … fundamental business reasons underlying EI and EP initiatives are usually to do with: • improving employee development • adding organisational/stakeholder value. But – The idea of increased EI giving rise to increased organisational commitment is transactional in nature. In practical terms there could be a difference between what Townley (1994) describes as the expectation and the deliverance of work.
Consider: To what degree is employee involvement a reality in an organisation you are familiar with? In what ways could employee involvement add value to your business : • in human terms, and • in non-human terms (eg shareholder value)?
Involvement and participation in decision-making (Figure 3.1) Source (adapted): Brown (2001)
Theory: collectivist and individualist behavioural and management styles(Figure 3.2) Note: the categories marked (1) and (2) are areas in which categorisation is difficult. Source (adapted): Kessler and Purcell (1995)
Relating employee involvement and participation to organisational communications
Activity: • Consider an organisation you are familiar with. • Describe how the decision-making process operates in your chosen organisation. • Describe the extent to which employees are able to influence the decision-making in your chosen organisation. • Briefly, comment on how the employees feel about the level of their involvement. • What lessons could be learned by both the management and the non-management employees?