Participative Management

What is Participative Management?

Participative Management refers to the technique of inviting members of the organization to take an active part in the organization-wide decision-making process. Organizations that value the relevance of human intellect and strive to develop a good relationship with their personnel follow this approach.

That is why it is Participative Decision Making, Employee Involvement or Industrial Democracy. Another term for participative management is Worker’s Participation in Management. In this, workers have a say in the management’s decision-making process.

It comprises various elements, including increased communication and cooperation, joint decision-making, quality circles, quality of work-life, increase in job satisfaction, conflict resolution, etc.

Participative Management is an open form of management. This is because it includes all those members in the decision-making of the company who are likely to be affected by the decision. It ensures that the needs or concerns of every member will be satisfied. And for this, the cooperation of organizational members is a must.

Table of Contents

  1. Characteristics
  2. Objectives
  3. Levels
  4. Forms
  5. Importance
  6. Wrap Up

Characteristics of Worker’s Participation

  • It occurs at different levels of management.
  • Participation requires wilful acceptance of responsibilities by workers.
  • It does not mean mere physical presence. Instead, it means mental and emotional involvement.
  • Participation can be formal or informal.
  • Levels of participation are Shop floor, plant, department and corporate levels.
  • Four degrees of participation:
    1. Communication: Sharing information concerning all managerial decisions with employees.
    2. Consultation: Expression of views regarding work-related issues by workers. Management takes the ultimate decision after consultation.
    3. Codetermination: Managers and workers come together to take decisions in a joint manner.
    4. Self-Management: Full autonomy is provided to workers, from decision-making to execution.


Participative Management is a tool for increasing the productivity and efficiency of the organization, as well as building strong relations with the workers and employees. The objectives of Participative Management are:

  • To encourage harmonious relations between the company’s management and workmen.
  • To develop mutual trust and understanding among the company’s management and workmen.
  • To ensure a considerable level of job satisfaction.
  • To allow the workers to freely express their views towards the company’s goals and laws.
  • To attain a significant increase in production.
  • To provide welfare facilities to the workmen.
  • To give training to the workers in understanding as well as sharing the responsibilities of the management.
  • To facilitate teamwork.
  • To develop a dynamic human resource.
  • To decrease labour turnover and absenteeism.

At present, many organizations have adopted this concept, as it encourages open and unbiased communication, which not just helps in the company to grow but also maintains transparency in the company’s operations. It also gives freedom of expression to the employees. Moreover, it also increases job satisfaction among employees.

Levels of Participative Management

How workmen can take part in management is what we call forms of participation. There are several forms in which Participative Management exists, wherein the level indicates the extent and depth of employee’s participation in the management. Come, let’s discuss the various forms/levels of participative management:forms-and-levels-of-participative-management

  1. Informative Participation: In this type of participation, members are entitled to receive information, discuss and offer suggestions or express their views on various issues of general economic importance.
  2. Consultative Participation: As the name suggests, the organization’s management consults with the workers on various matters of employee welfare like working conditions, safety and health. However, it is the company’s top-level management who makes the decisions. Further, the employee’s opinions and views are taken into account while deciding on the matter. This means that it is up to the discretion of the management to accept or reject the suggestions.
  3. Associative Participation: It is the extended form of consultative participation. In such participation, the company management has the moral obligation to adopt and execute the unanimous decisions and suggestions of the workers. And so, the management and workers of the organization participate in the decision jointly.
  4. Administrative Participation: The level of authority sharing is higher in administrative participation. It facilities freedom for the employees in exercising administrative and supervisory powers.
  5. Decisive Participation: It implies the greatest level of participation, which involves complete sharing of decision-making, and the delegation of authority is maximum at this stage. Therefore, joint decision-making is there, where workers actively participate.

The levels discussed above showcase an increasing degree of worker participation in the management depending upon the nature of functions, worker’s strength, department, etc. In this, informative participation is the lowest and decisive participation is the highest form of participation in an organization.

Forms of Workers Participation in Management

Collective Bargaining: It is carried out at periodic intervals or continuously amidst management and representatives of employees on different pressing issues. These are the issues over which the interest of the parties are competitive.

Work Committees: Establishments with more than 100 employees must create a works committee. So, this committee has an equal number of representatives of employers and employees.

Joint Management Councils: Joint bodies that comprise representatives of management and employees. They not just help the management in decision-making but also provide advice as consultative bodies.

Board Level: The primary function of the board is to increase the wealth of the enterprise. When there is a worker’s representative on the board, the formation of capital and growth will be secondary. This is because he will give preference to negotiating the interest with other board members.

Worker’s Ownership in Enterprise: This system prevails in countries like Yugoslavia. In this, different groups of people perform managerial and operative functions.

Suggestive Scheme: In this, the workers are called for and encouraged to give suggestions for improving the firm’s working. For this, a suggestion box is fitted at the commonplace so that the workers can write directly to the management.

Must Read: Strategic Human Resource Management

Importance of Participative Management

The concept of participative management has universal acceptability. That is why there are many organizations across the world which implement it. The importance of participative management is:

  • The employees easily connect with the organization, resulting in improved performance.
  • It motivates employees due to their involvement in management.
  • It increases job satisfaction and cooperation among employees, reducing workplace conflicts.
  • More commitment and dedication are seen in employees towards the achievement of goals.
  • It leads to good communication, as they share work problems mutually.
  • It develops mutual trust and understanding that lays the foundations of a good relationship between employer and employee.
  • Reduces industrial disputes and encourages peace.
  • Promotes industrial democracy.
  • Workers think and take the initiative.
  • It helps in identifying the hidden talent and abilities of the workers.

Wrap Up

Hence, with this technique, the employees get an opportunity to share their ideas, suggestions and feedback regarding the company’s policies and decisions. Also, they feel responsible for the achievement of organizational goals.

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