Levels of Participation: The degree of influence that workers are allowed to exercise can be classified into five levels from the minimum to maximum degree of participation. These levels are:
At this level of worker’s participation, information regarding the balance sheet, production targets, new technology introduction etc. is shared with the workers. It is a one-way communication from the management to the workers. The workers have no role to play in organizational management.
Consultative Participation: Worker representatives in different forums like work committees and joint management councils are on matters such as employee benefits, employee welfare and work conditions. The recommendations of the worker representatives are given due consideration, but the final decision-making authority vests with the management.
Associative Participation: The management is under a moral obligation to accept and implement the unanimous decision of the worker’s council. The workers at this level of participation have a major role to play, when compared with the earlier two stages.
Administrative Participation: In administrative participation, the worker’s council is given certain alternatives from which it can select the one it wants to implement. At this level workers enjoy a greater degree of influence than at the previous three levels.
Decision Participation: At this level, decisions are taken jointly on matters relating to production and welfare. As the decisions are taken with the mutual consent, both the parties are obliged to abide by them, and the decisions are successfully implemented.
Types of Workers Participation.
Workers participation in management may take many forms, e.g.
Formal participation: It consists of some plan for labor-management co-operation, i.e. to some degree, recognized as a modus operandi between management and workers, frequently through a union.
- Workers and management may work together on such plans as: Accident prevention, Elimination of waste and defective work, Attendance and Absenteeism, Employee insurance plans, etc.
- In ascending type of participation, the workers representatives of workers participate in managerial decisions at higher levels such as in the board of directors of the enterprise.
- In descending type of participation, workers participate in the planning and deciding their own work on the shop floor.
Collectively, workers can participate in :
- Works Committees, which are meant for promoting measures for securing and preserving amity and good relations between workers and management. A works committee comments upon matters of common interest and attempts to settle any material difference of opinion between the two parties.
- Joint-councils of workers and management may decide the issues on which interests of management and workers are identical, e.g. Accident prevention and safety measures, determination of production standards, workers training, welfare measures etc.
- Information sharing in which workers are told about certain aspects of the company, e.g. plans for expansion, financial position of the company, etc.
- Employees director, i.e., an elected representative of the (employee’s or) workers is one of the board of directors.
Individually workers can participate in management through:
Job Enlargement and Job Enrichment: Job enlargement means expanding the job content adding task elements horizontally. Job enrichment means that additional motivators are added to the job so that it is more rewarding. The purpose of job enlargement and job enrichment is to relieve the boredom of the worker, which flows from excessive specialization in mass-production industries so that the job itself may be source of self-satisfaction. Job enlargement and job enrichment do provide for worker’s participation because they offer freedom and scope to them to use their judgement.
Suggestion Schemes: Employee’s view on such matters as machine utilization, waste management energy conservation and safety measures are invited, and reward is given for the best suggestion. This procedure enables the management to arouse and maintain the employee’s interests in the problems of their concern and its management. The suggestion schemes are increasingly used by progressive management.
It is more typically at work-group level, where the foreman develops the opportunity for the group of workers to take part in a problem-solving or decision-making process. Typically, the matters on which decisions are taken are those within the prerogatives of the foreman or supervisor.