Employee involvement and participation covers a wide range of practices. These practices are initiated principally by management and are designed to increase employee information about, and commitment to, the organisation. It is also known as Workers’ Participation in Management (WPM).
Participation refers to involvement of individuals or group of individual for common purpose. It will be effective only if there is interaction among individuals or groups.
For worker, participation means sharing in decision-making power with management as co-partner. Worker looks upon it as a tool of gaining equal control over decision-making process within the organisation.
For management, participation means joint consultation before decision-making. It looks upon participation as a tool for securing better overall performance of the organisation.
The concept of workers participation in management or participative management is based on “Human Relations” approach to management which brought about new set of values to labour and management. It is considered as a mechanism where workers have a say in the decision- making process of an enterprise.
Benefits of Employee Involvement
(1) Willing Acceptance of Responsibility – When an employee is included in the decision-making process of the management, it makes him more responsible because he feels it as his own decision. He looks after the successful implementation of that decision and accepts the responsibility willingly. This is possible only if the employees are fully engaged in the decision-making process of management directly or through their representative in general and specially the decisions that concern them directly or indirectly.
(2) Association of Worker’s Representatives – In the larger and bigger organisations, direct participation of each`worker is not possible. Hence, participation is conducted through the mechanism of the forum and practices that provide for association for worker’s representation. It can be in the form of unions or associations or of the majority. However, there are different ways, like calling general body meetings to discuss important issues or policy matters.
(3) Employee’s Influence on Decision – Participation increases employee’s influence in decision-making at different tiers of the organisational hierarchy with commitment for assumption of responsibility. It is felt that it is through the employees that the
ultimate increase in productivity is generated. It is the human résourçes that organise and utilise the plant, machinery, and technology effectively. Hence, the influence of the employees on the decisions is natural and necessary.
(4) Effect on Policy Formulation and Execution – Participation has to be at different levels of management. Decision-making at different levels would assume different patterns in regard to policy formulation and execution. In joint consultation, the participation remains till consultation, in joint decision-making, it gives power for decision-making and self-management, and it gives equal power in every sphere of the organisation. Similarly, the effect on the policy-making as well as on its implementation is natural and necessary.
(5) Auto Management – Participative management involves the transfer of management functions entirely to the employees, which will result in auto management. This will lead to decline in voluntary absenteeism, sickness, accidents and turnover resulting in smoother management. In the modern industry, it is not possible to eliminate management and therefore, the self-management in industry can only exist where a function can be transferred from the management to the employees.