Worker’s Participation in Management
The concept of worker’s participation in management is considered as a mechanism where workers have a say in the decision making process of an enterprise. This term is interpreted in many ways by various parties to industrial relations, namely workers, management and government. Managers generally interpret it merely joint consultation prior to decision making whereas workers normally think of it as equivalent to co-decision or co-determination in the spheres of managerial functions. Many industrial relations experts regard it as association of labour with management without the final authority or responsibility in the general area of managerial functions.
According to Davis
It is a mental and emotional involvement of a person in a group situation which encourages him to contribute to goals and share responsibilities with them.
According to Mehtras
The concept of participation as principle of democratic administration in an industry implies a share by rank and file in the decision making process of an industrial organization through their representatives at all the appropriate levels of management in the entire range of managerial action.
Features/Characteristics of Worker’s Participation in Management
- Participation means mental and emotional involvement rather than mere physical presence.
- Workers participate in management not as individuals but collectively as group through their representatives.
- Worker’s participation is based on the theory that a worker invests his labour and ties his fate to his place of work. Therefore he has laegitimate right to share in the determination of company policy.
- Worker’s participation in management may be formal or informal. In both cases, it is a system of communication and consultation whereby employees express their opinions and contribute to managerial decisions. They are kept informed of the company’s affairs.
- Worker’s participation should be distinguished from collective bargaining. The former is based on mutual trust, information sharing and mutual problem solving. On the other hand, collective bargaining is essentially based on power play, pressure tactics and negotiations.
- The participation has to be at different levels of management – shop floor, plant, department and corporate levels.
Objectives of Worker’s Participation
- To increase the production and the productivity of the employees by improving the industrial and human relations in the organization.
- To give employees a better understanding of their role in the working of the industry and the process of production.
- To promote individual development and the extension of individual’s human rights at the work place and to bring the worker recognitions, treatment and attention as a human being rather than as mere statistical unit of production.
- To achieve industrial peace, better relations and increased co-operation in industry.
- To develop leaders from within the industry.
Importance and Need of Worker’s Participation in Management
Worker’s participation in management provides the following benefits:
- Reduced Industrial Unrest
Industrial conflict is a struggle between two industrial groups which are motivated by the belief that their respective interests are endangered by the self-interested behvaiour of the other. Participation cuts at this very root of industrial conflict. It tries to remove or atleast minimize the diverse and conflicting interests between the parties, by substituting in their place cooperation, homogeneity of objectives and common interests.
- Mutual Understanding
Generally, employers and employees doubt the integrity of each other due to ignorance of each other’s problems. Participation brings the two groups closer and makes them aware of each other’s problems. As a result, a better understanding and mutual trust can be treated between employer and workers.
- Higher Productivity
Increased productivity is possible only when there exists fullest co-operation between labour and management. It has been empirically tested that poor ‘labour management relations’ do not encourage the workers to contribute anything more than the minimum desirable work to retain their jobs. Thus participation of workers in management is essential to increase industrial productivity.
- Increased Organisational Balance
If workers participate to solve organizational problems and work towards common solutions, a greater degree of organizational balance occurs because of decreased misunderstandings and individual and group conflicts. Participation leads to increased understanding throughout the organisation.
- Industrial Harmony
Workers participation in management helps to reduce industrial disputes and to improve worker’s loyality. Continuous dialogue between management and workers improves peace in industry.
- Improved Communication
It is seldom possible for managers to have knowledge of all alternatives and all consequences related to the decision which they must make. Because of the existence of barriers to the upward flow of information in most enterprises, much valuable information possessed by subordinates never reaches heir managers. Participation tends to break the barriers and makes the information available to managers. To the extent such information alters the decisions the quality of decision is improved.
- Industrial Democracy
Participation of workers in management ushers in industrial democracy which is necessary for political democracy. Need for outside intervention between employer and employees is eliminated and workers are freed from exploitation.
- Less resistance to change
Workers often resist change due to fear and ignorance. When workers participate in the decision making they come to understand that change is ultimately in their own interest. They become more bale and ready to adopt themselves to technological and other changes made to improve the competitive position of the company.
- Creativity and Innovation
Participation encourages workers to think and take initiative. Their talent and ability can be capitalized, highly competent employees can be spotted and given prevention. Participator is helpful in training and developing future executives. Worker’s urge for self-expression is satisfied.
- Increased commitment
An important prerequisite for forging greater commitment is the individual’s involvement and opportunity to express himself. Participation allows individuals to express themselves at the work place rather than being absorbed into a complex system of rules, procedures and systems. If an individual knows that he can express his opinion and ideas, a personal sense of gratification and involvement takes place within him. This, in turn fortifies his identification with the organization resulting in greater commitment.