17 Primary Methods of Workers Participation in Management (WPM)

Worker’s participation management is conscious of their democratic rights in their workplace. It also manages resistance to change and to secure effective and smooth implementation of decisions.

how to achieve workers participation in management
how to achieve workers participation in management

Worker’s participation in management (WPM) has become an important philosophy of every industrial organization in developed and developing countries.

It satisfies the worker’s urge for self-expression, initiative, and self-actualization.

How to Get Workers Participation in Management?

Participation of workers in the management of the industrial enterprise is achieved by the following methods:

1. Works Committee

A works committee consists of an equal number of representatives of both employers and workers.

It meets frequently for discussion on common problems of the workers and the management.

After discussion, joint decisions are taken and such decisions are binding on both parties.

Matters like wage payment, bonus, training, discipline, etc. are discussed in such meetings.

Works committees are extremely popular and effective in France and England.

2. Joint Management Council

The joint management council consists of a representative of employers, workers, and government.

It is set up to discuss ad give suggestions or improvement with regard to matters of mutual interest.

The decision of such committees are not binding on either party, yet they are implements as they are arrived at by mutual consultations.

The subject matter of joint consultations includes such mutual areas as labor welfare, safety measures, grievances redressal, training, working hours, etc.

3. Collective Bargaining

It is an industrial relations process in which employees through their elected leaders participate on an equal basis with management in negotiating labor agreements, administering the agreements, and reassessing grievances of the workers.

Collective bargaining is done periodically or on a continuous basis between management and workers representative, on issues over which the interests of workers hours and number of are competitive, such wage rates, bonus, working hours and number of holidays.

The agreements arrived at are normally binding on the parties.

4. Co-Partnership

in co-partnership, workers are allowed to purchase shares of the company and thus become its co-owners.

In this way, they can participate in the management of the company through their elected representatives on the board of directors.

As shareholders, the workers can also attend general meetings o shareholders and exercise their voting rights.

Workers are given a higher status and are connected with the company in a dual capacity. Through their directors, workers can protect their interests.

This method creates worker’s ownership in the enterprise.

Related: How to Make a Successful Workers Participative Management?

5. Workers Directors

In this scheme, the worker’s representatives are taken on the board of directors. The worker’s director was supposed to be elected by all the owners of the company through a secret ballot.

This method has some limitations. A worker director would bein a minority nd thus his views would carry little weight with Board.

Moreover, the worker director is not properly trained in the management function.

The effectiveness of the worker’s representative at the board depends upon his ability to participate in decision making, his knowledge of the company affairs, his educational background, his level of understanding, and also on the number of workers representatives on the board.

6. Suggestion Scheme

Under the suggestion scheme, the workers are encouraged to give their suggestions to the management on various administrative matters, and their suggestions are considered carefully and accepted if found suitable.

In addition, rewards are also given to those who make constructive suggestions.

For collecting suggestions of workers suggestion boxes are kept in all departments.

7. Grievance Procedures

A grievances procedure also provides an opportunity for the workers to participate in decisions on matters affecting their interests.

It is established for an early settlement of worker’s grievances.

8. Quality Circles

Quality circles are an important group technique used by the Japanese in their industries to ensure the involvement of workers in the decision-making process and hence their participation in management. It is a self-governing group of workers.

It voluntarily meets on a regular basis, identity, analyze, and solve problems in their work field in stipulated time.

It improves the quality of products and manpower.

Besides improving product quality, quality circles encourage employee commitment and loyalty, develop individuals’ skills and capabilities, raise morale, and build strong problem-solving groups and teams.

9. Shop Councils

In every industrial unit employing 500 or more workers, the employer shall constitute a shop council for each department or shop.

Each council shall consist of an equal number of representatives of employers and workers.

All the representatives of workers shall be from amongst the workers actually engaged shall be on the basis of consensus and not by voting.

10. Unit Councils

Encouraged by the success of the joint council’s scheme in manufacturing and mining units, a new scheme of workers participation in management in commercial and service organizations in the public sector, having envisaged the setting up of unit councils in units employing at least 150 persons.

Thus unit level consists of representatives of workers and management.

It discusses day by day problems and finds solutions.

It takes decisions on the basis of consensus.

11. Auto Management

Under this system, workers acquire complete control of the management through an elected board.

It gives complete control to workers to manage directly all aspects of industrial through their representatives.

Under this system, workers are given wide powers of management of their factory.

The industrial unit is established by the state but the day-to-day management is given in the hands of workers working there.

The production targets etc. are decided at the government level but the rest of the activities are managed by the workers themselves collectively.

This method is suitable in socialist or communist countries. It actually exists at present in Yugoslavia. It is not suitable for the Indian economic system.

12. Plant Council

The plant council shall normally deal with the following matters:

  1. Determination of productivity scheme taking into consideration the local conditions.
  2. Planning, implementation, and attainment and review of monthly targets and schedules.
  3. Materials supply ad preventing its shortfall.
  4. Housekeeping activities.
  5. Improvement in producing in general and in critical areas in particular.
  6. Quality and technological improvements.
  7. Machine utilization, knowledge, and development of new products.
  8. Matters relating to absenteeism.
  9. The special problem of women workers, and
  10. Safety measures.

13. Job Enlargement and Job enrichment

Job enlargement expands job contents. It adds task elements horizontally.

Job enrichment adds more responsibility, more freedom, more decisional powers, additional motivators, more rewards, more challenges to the job.

levels and forms of workers' participation in management
levels and forms of workers’ participation in management

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 a 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 judgment.

However, this method of participation does not provide workers to have a say in vital matters such as job and income security, welfare schemes, and other policy decision of the company which affects them directly.

14. Empowered Teams

Empowerment gives employees more authority and responsibility.

For employees, it creates a sense of ownership and control over their jobs.

Empowered individuals know that their jobs belong to them. Given a say on how things ate done, employees feel more responsible.

When they feel responsible, they show more initiative in their work, get more done, and enjoy the work more.

These teams perform the following functions:

  • To share various management and leadership functions.
  • To set their own goals and inspect their own work.
  • To create their own schedules.
  • To review their performance as a group.
  • To prepare their own budgets.
  • To order materials, keep inventories, and deal with suppliers.
  • To assume responsibility for disciplining their own members.

15. Total Quality Management (TQM)

TQM is a deep commitment of an organization to quality improvement.

It is a continuous improvement approach to doing business.

It brings improvement in all areas of an organization.

TQM is classified as a participative method because every employee in the organization is involved and is expected to take responsibility for improving quality, every day.

It is a formal program that involves direct participation by all employees.

16. Financial Participation

This method is less likely to involve employees in the consultation or decisional process.

But financial participation can enhance employee commitment to the organization by linking the performance of the firm to that of the employee.

The employee is more likely to be positively motivated and involved if he has a financial stake in the company by having a share of profits or by being a shareholder.

The schemes of financial participation include the profit linked pay, profit sharing, and employee stock option scheme, workers cooperations, management buyouts, pension, and fund participation, and wage-earner funds.

17. Open Door Policy

Some organizations extend a general invitation to their employees to informally drop in the manager’s room any time and talk over their grievances and problems.

Thus, employees have the freedom to discuss innumerable routine grievances also with lower-level managers.

This policy sounds goods ad democratic, but it is generally ineffective.

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