Benefits of Participative Management

Participative management as a decision making style is not welcome by one and all! Labor or trade unions, for example do not approve of this. They argue that it is in fact disadvantageous to welfare of the workers because the participative processes give deep insights to the management, which in turn puts the latter in a better bargaining position while dealing with unions.

Denison in the year 1990 elaborated on a large number of benefits of participative management. This is after Kanter made useful contributions in the subject from 1983-1989. According to him participative management allows for innovation and knowledge sharing between the managers and the workers, those who are contiguous to the products being made. They being the closest can give better feedback for quality control, devise efficient manufacturing processes and strategize for the same.

Apart from the above mentioned workers, Markowitz and Lawler have also worked independently in the field. Nonetheless we may enumerate the benefits of participative management as follows:

  • Innovation and increased efficiency: The problem solving process and openness to new ideas can result in innovation. Apart from this as mentioned above there is also knowledge sharing amongst the workers and the managers. This means that those who are part of a certain process at the ground level give inputs for improved efficiency of the same. This has dual implications, helping improve the quality of product and curtailing the cost of manufacture.

  • Timeliness: There is improved communication between the managers and the workers and between workers across different units. A loophole or flaw is reported in time.

  • Employee satisfaction and Motivation: Empowering the employees increases their ownership or stake in their work. This increases efficiency and productivity. Consequently there is decreased absenteeism and less employee turnover. This also works in attracting more people towards the organization and the job.

  • Product quality: A say in decision making means that workers can immediately pin point and suggest remedial measures for improving the efficiency of the process they are apart of. This means that quality control in product or service is exercised for the lowest level.

  • Less supervision requirements: There is greater focus on management of self with due emphasis of widening one’s skill set. One of the major benefits of this is that there is a lesser need of supervision and support staff.

  • Better grievance redressal: Increased communication paves way for reduced number of grievances and quick and effective resolution of dispute (often on the spot). Union - management relationship is also benefited and strengthened.

  • Hiring Flexibility: Hiring flexibility is increased as a result of cross training. Increased coordination among team members also offers a comfort zone for the newly hired.

Participative management thus results in overall increase of the ownership of work of an employee. This empowerment can lead to increased efficiency, better productivity, improved morale and job satisfaction. But the fact the participative management requires an overall change in the organizational culture, the implementation of the same, specially when there is a bureaucratic style of decision making in place, can be a major challenge!

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