Explain different types of participative management programme


Explain different types of participative management programme.

Ans.    Organisations use a variety of programs aimed at increasing employee participation. All the different programs have one major objective and that is to increase employee participation. However the programs differ with regard to the degree of direct or indirect involvement, the influence they exert and the time length of the program.

            An organization is said to be using participative management when it uses either a very significant approach with widespread application or a sufficient number of programs to develop a substantial sense of empowerment among its employees. Participative management is basically a process where subordinates share a significant degree of decision making with their immediate superiors.

The different types of participative programs are :

1.      Works committees : The Industrial Disputes Act of 1947 provides for establishing works committees in every establishment employing hundred or more workers. This legislation thus makes it compulsory for the organization to ensure employee participation. The work committee consists of equal numbers of workers and employer.

The employer’s representatives are nominated by the employer and should be those who are connected wit the firm and have day-to-day contact with workers. The workers representatives are elected from among the workmen engaged in the firm in consultation with the union.

The main function of the works committee is to promote measure for securing and preserving amity and good relations between the employers and the workers. The works committee is normally concerned with day-to-day problems of the firm. Their task is to smooth away any friction that may occur between the management and the workers.

Despite the noble intentions of the Act, works committees have not been very successful due to the following reasons :

a)      Workers representative are on these committees lack the competent to carry out their responsibility well.

b)      Unions consider these committees as a threat to their existence as employers prefer to talk to these committees rather than the union.

c)      Some employers consider it below their dignity to sit on these committees along with the workers.

d)      There is lack of interest among workers in works committees as they concentrate only on minor issues and major issues pertaining to wages, bonus, etc are not included.

2.      Co-partnership :

In this method, employees are paid the share of profits in the firm of shares and not cash. Thus workers become shareholders in the company in which they are employed. Being shareholders of the company they are entitled to participate in management. They also receive dividend on their shares. Co-partnership increases the status of workers and improves their relationship with the management.

The problem with this method is that employees are not interested in co-partnership and want their share of profits in cash and refuse to accept shares of company. Even the unions oppose this scheme as well as they feel that nominal shareholding of the workers does not give them any real say in management.

3.      Employee Directors :

Under this method one or two representative of the workers are nominated on the board of Directors of the company. They enjoy the same privileges and have the same authority as other directors have. They participate in the decision making process as regards policies and procedure. The representatives of the employees to be nominated are selected or suggested by the unions of the employees. The management of this method of participation is that many worker directors are ignorant about their role on the board and get in to conflict with other board members.

4.      Joint Management Councils (JMC) :

Under this system, joint management councils are constituted. These councils consist of equal number of representatives of employers and workers. The councils discuss various matters concerning the working of the company. The decision of that council is advisory in nature. The management however considers these decisions sympathetically and implement them although it is not mandatory.

5.      Suggestion schemes :

          As the name itself indicates, suggestion programs are formal plans to invite individual employees to make suggestions for work improvements. The suggestions are then sorted out as per their applicability and cost-benefits ratio. Employees whose suggestions result in cost saving for the organization are given monetary rewards that are proportionate to the company’s savings. The limitations of suggestion programs are :

a)      Employee initiative : The emphasis is on individual initiative rather than group problem solving and teamwork. Only a few employees make actual suggestions and the rest do not experience any sense of involvement.

b)      Demoralizing : There is a possibility that employees may be feel delay in the processing of suggestions or if certain ideas that appear good are rejected. The employee may stop making suggestions in the future.

c)      Criticism : Some managers find it hard to accept suggestions from their subordinates and may view it as criticism of their ability and practice.

6.      Quality Circles :

The success of quality circles in Japan has led to their increasing popularity in Europe and the United States. A quality circle consists of a group of employees who meet regularly to discuss their quality problems, investigate causes, recommend solutions, and take corrective actions. Quality circles usually consist of eight to ten employees and supervisors who typically meet once a week on company time and on company premises. The benefits of quality circles are :

a)      Employees feel that they have some influence on their organization.

b)      Quality circles provide opportunities for personal growth, achievement and recognition.

c)      Employees are more committed to the solutions as they generated them.

The limitations of quality circles are :

a)      Not all employees participate. Some are just silent spectators.

b)      They often address trivial and issues.

c)      Employees feel isolated if they feel that their efforts are not having an impact on the organization.

7.      Total quality management :

TQM or total quality management is a philosophy of management that aims at constant attainment of customer satisfaction through continuous improvement of all organizational processes.

TQM is not a merely a quality improvement technique but rather a set of corporate values-a way of life demonstrating a strong commitment to improving quality in everything that is done.

TQM gets every employee involved and every step in the firm’s process is subject to intense and regular scrutiny for ways to improve it. Any issue may be taken up for exploration.

For TQM to be effective, employee must receive extensive training in problem solving, group decision making and statistical methods.

8.      Self-managing Teams :

Self – managing teams are sometimes referred to as semi-autonomous work groups or socio-technical teams. Self – managing teams are natural work groups that are given a large degree of decision-making autonomy; they are expected to control their own behaviour and results. In simple words, self-managed teams are teams whose members are permitted to make key decisions about how their work is done.

Typically, self-managing teams consist of small numbers of employees, often around ten, who take on duties that used to be performed by their supervisors. Their task includes making work assignments, deciding on the pace of work, determining how quality is to be assessed, and even who gets to join the team.

9.      Quality Circle – A Way of Participative Management :

Quality circles pioneered by Dr K Ishikawa, in early sixties, helped Japanese Industry to make a miraculous recovery from the ravages of the Second World War and transforming its earlier image as producer of substandard products into leading industrial nation with high productivity and reliable quality.

Quality circles are small groups of employees that meet on a regular basis to discuss ways in which they can improve productivity and cut costs. Generally a Quality circle consists of about ten employees who meet on a regular basis voluntarily for an hour or so to identify, analyse and discuss specific work -related issues, which will lead to over all improvement in total performance and enrichment of work life. The idea here is to meet at free period, generally lunch hours or after the factory hours. The meetings are loosely structured and often begin with a group of brain storming session to identify problem areas.

The organizational structure of the quality consists of following parties :

a)      Non – members are those employees who are not the part of the circle however they are very important for the implementation and success of Quality Circles.

b)      Members are the employees who form the Quality circles. The eligibility to become a member solely depends upon participation.

c)      Leaders! Deputy Leaders are chosen among the members themselves on a rotation basis. Such convention would ensure leadership building aspect of quality circles, as every member would have an opportunity to lead the team.

d)      Facilitator is a senior officer of the department and is nominated by the management. Outsiders are not appointed as facilitators.

e)      Departmental Committee / Steering Committee comprises heads of major departments. Such involvement of the top management creates a lot of confidence and commitment on the part of workers which leads to higher productivity.

f)       Coordinating Agency coordinates the activities of the circle throughout the organization.

Quality Circles :

a)      Improve human relations and work area morale

b)      Promote participative culture

c)      Promote team work

d)      Improve overall productivity yet cost effective

e)      Satisfy the self esteem requirements of the employees at the grass roots.

Conclusion :

A group compromising of 10 out of which one alone is trying to break 10 strong stick …….. Sounds impossible. RIGHT? That’s true on the contrary, if he tries to break a single stick, the chances of succeeding are more ……….. That is the essence of participative management.

The relevance of participative management is so enormous that organisations can prosper or crumble on the basis of its impact. Since participative management implies the active participation of all the concerned party, substantial generation of idea could be brought about. This can lead to more & more innovation, making the organisation competing enough as it is the matter of the survival of the fittest.


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