According to the social scientists, workers’ participation in management is the best technique for utilization of human resources. It not only increase workers’ productivity but also encourage, for achieving social justice.
Thus, it is welcomed at all levels. Workers’ feel satisfied when decisions are taken with their participation directly or indirectly. They feel part and parcel of the organisation.
The levels of workers’ participation are:- 1. Informative Participation 2. Consultative Participation 3. Associative Participation 4. Administrative Participation 5. Decisive Participation 6. Shop-Floor Level 7. Plant Level 8. Enterprise Level.
Levels of Workers’ Participation in Management: Informative, Consultative, Associative, Administrative and Decisive Participation Levels
Levels of Participation of Workers – According to Mhatras
According to Mhatras:
1. Informative Participation – It refers to sharing of information with workers regarding economic position of firm, state of the market, production and sale programme, work methods, balance sheet, expansions, plant etc. Here the worker has no right to scrutinise the information provided by management.
2. Consultative Participation – This involve a higher degree of sharing of views of workers and giving them a chance to express their views on various issues concerning work, workplace, working conditions, market standing, financial status etc. Here the joint council of workers and management works as an advisory body only. Management may or may not accept the suggestions.
3. Associative Participation – Here the council is not purely advisory. The management is under a moral obligation to accept and implement the unanimous decisions of the council.
4. Administrative Participation – Here, there is greater degree of sharing authority and responsibility of managerial work, allowing workers a little more autonomy in exercising administrative and supervisory powers in respect of welfare, safety, benefits, rewards etc.
5. Decisive Participation – This is the highest form of participation where decisions are taken jointly on matters relating to production, safety, welfare etc.
Levels of Participation of Workers – Informative, Consultative, Associative, Administrative and Decisive Participation
Having known the objectives of WPM, the question arises as to what extent workers can be allowed to participate in decision-making process. There are five levels of participation according to Mhetray. Since the level of participation influences process and quality of decisions, it is better to highlight this aspect.
1. Informative Participation – Under this type, management informs the members of committees of the decisions taken already. It does not seek the opinion of the participative committee members as to the proposed step.
2. Consultative Participation – It is a shade better than informative participation. Committee members are consulted before any decision is taken by the management. However, management is not bound by the advice of the committee.
3. Associative Participation – It is an improvement over consultative participation. Members are entitled to receive information and data, and discuss, analyze and give suggestions.
4. Administrative Participation – In the case of administrative participation, management consults committees as to the mode of implementation. Thus, members have a greater role in implementing a decision. For example, safety practices, disciplinary action, grievance procedure, purchase of equipment, etc.
5. Decisive Participation – This is the highest level of participation as decisions are made jointly by committees and management. Workers through committee members, have the right of codetermination. For example, Board level participation, self-managed teams, etc.
Levels of Participation of Workers – 3 Levels at which Participation can Take Place: Shop Floor, Plant or Unit and Enterprise
The third issue in workers’ participation in management is the determination of the level at which workers will participate in the process. Since workers’ participation involves participation through representatives of workers, its level has to be considered in this context. Usually, there are three levels at which participation can take place- shop floor, plant or unit, and enterprise.
1. Shop-Floor Level:
Shop-floor level of participation, in some form or the other, is the most popular. At this level, shop-floor committees or councils are constituted with representatives from management and workers to take up the matters concerning a particular shop. Usually, such matters are of routine nature.
2. Plant Level:
The second level at which participation can occur is the plant. The assumption in plant level participation is that an enterprise is made up of several plants and there is in effect a distinction between shop floor, plant, and enterprise. For example, ACC Limited has eleven plants located in different geographical areas of the country.
Similarly, Tata Motors has three plants at three different places. Where an enterprise has a single plant, this intermediate level of participation is not needed. Usually, at the plant level, such matters are dealt which have relevance for all shop floors and cannot be solved or taken up at shop floor level.
3. Enterprise Level:
An enterprise consisting of several plants, participation is required at the enterprise level. This can be taken up in the form of management committees for the purpose or may be in the form of representation of workers at the level of Board of Directors. The matters which are discussed and settled at this level are related to all plants.
Participation at this level is required to maintain parity in the practices adopted at different plants and to set guidelines in respect of these practices.
Levels of Participation of Workers – Top 5 Levels
According to the social scientists, workers’ participation in management is the best technique for utilization of human resources. It not only increase workers’ productivity but also encourage, for achieving social justice. Thus, it is welcomed at all levels. Workers’ feel satisfied when decisions are taken with their participation directly or indirectly. They feel part and parcel of the organisation.
It is also a right of the workers’ Participation has like a tonic which effect on the psychology-of an employee.
There are five levels of participation which are discussed below:
(1) Administrative Participation:
In the administrative participation, decision is taken and the council is given the right to choose the method of implementing it. This allows worker’s more autonomy in exercising administrative and supervisory powers in respect of welfare measures, safety and operation of vocational training and preparation of work schedules.
(2) Decisive Participation:
Here decisions are taken jointly. This is the highest form of participation where all economic, financial and administrative matters are brought under the scrutiny of the councils.
(3) Consultative Participation:
Here the workers’ are consulted with the management regarding the matter and the final decision has goes to the management.
(4) Informative Participation:
In the informative participation, workers provided information regarding future expansion plans, production figures, balance sheet, economic condition etc. Workers have no right to scrutinize the information r provided by the management.
(5) Associative Participation:
The management accepts the suggestions of the council and implement the unanimous decision taken by it.
Participation of workers’ in the Management not only protects the interests of workers’ or management, but also acts as a system of checks and balance on both groups.
Participation involves the following steps:
(1) Ascertain the objectives, functions and scope of the committee set up for participation.
(2) Fix the number of member participant from each side.
(3) Decide the quorum and frequency of meeting.
(4) Specify the agency framework and the agenda for meeting.
(5) Establish the procedure for giving notice of meetings.
(6) Decide the agency that records, the minutes of meeting circulate them, and monitor follow up action.
(7) Decisions implemented or otherwise should be discussed in meeting and corrective actions taken accordingly.
(8) The decision of the committee must be binding on concerned parties.
Levels of Participation of Workers (With the Functions)
Participation can take place at three levels in an enterprise—floor level, plant level and corporate level.
The forms of participation are the functions of the purpose:
i. Communication – The purpose is to give and get information.
ii. Consultation – The purpose is to obtain other party’s views.
iii. Participation – To let the people concerned take part in taking decisions.
iv. Joint decision-making – Management taking decisions together with workers/unions.
It has, therefore, been rightly said that workers’ participation can be:
i. Informative participation
ii. Consultative participation
iii. Administrative participation
iv. Decision-making participation.
A brief description of these is as follows:
i. Informative Participation:
This is the initial level of participation and refers to information- sharing concerning balance sheet, economic conditions of the plant, production and so on, so that the workers can have an idea of what is going on in the organisation and may offer their suggestions on the matters of general economic significance.
ii. Consultative Participation:
This is at the next higher level. Here, the workers are consulted on matters such as welfare programmes, safety and methods of work.
iii. Administrative Participation:
Here, the workers have a greater share in participation, and they assume a greater responsibility for the discharge of management functions as workers enjoy a bit more autonomy in the exercise of administrative and supervisory powers in matters affecting workers, for example, to be a part of administration of ‘canteen committee’.
iv. Decisive and Decision-Making Participation:
It being the highest level of participation, workers get an opportunity to participate in the final decision-making process. Decisions are taken jointly on all matters—work-related issues or interest-related issues. Hence, it leads to oneness and total involvement.
However, according to P. Suba Rao, forms of workers’ participation are:
i. Workers Committees
ii. Joint Management Councils (JMCs)
iii. Joint Councils
iv. Shop Councils
v. Unit Councils.
There are two other most talked forms of employee’s involvement –
(a) Autonomous work groups (e.g., autonomous work groups at Volvos Kalmer Plant in Sweden and, to a lesser extent, at Calico Mills at Ahmedabad) and
(b) Quality circles.
Levels of Participation of Workers
The participation is possible at all levels of management. It depends upon the nature of functions, the strength of the workers, the attitudes of trade unions and that of management. The areas and degrees may differ very considerably at different levels of management.
At one end, where the exercise of authority in decision-making is almost complete, participation will be negligible; while at the other end, where the exercise of authority is relatively small, participation will be maximum.
In between these two extremes, the nature and extent of participation will vary, depending on a variety of factors, including the problems or issues, the attitudes and past experience of the management, and the development of human relations in general and labour management relations in particular.
The fact is that workers’ participation in management will have to be at different levels. The workers may be given an opportunity to influence or take part in managerial decisions at the higher level through their representatives on a supervisory board or on the Board of Directors, or through works councils.
The participation may also be at lower levels at which workers are given some authority to plan and take decisions about their work, like job enrichment, job enlargement, delegation, etc.
Broadly speaking, there are four stages of participation. At the initial stage, participation may be informative and associative participation, where members have the right to receive information, discuss and give suggestions on the general economic situation of the concern, the state of the market, production and sales programmes, organisation and general running of the undertaking, circumstances affecting the economic position of the concern, methods of manufacture and work, annual balance sheet and profit and loss account and connected documents and explanations, long- term plans for expansion, redeployment, and such other matters as may be agreed to.
There are the areas in which the members have the right to receive information and discuss these, and make suggestions which are binding on the management.
Consultative participation involves a higher degree of sharing of views of the members and giving them an opportunity to express their feelings. In the process, members are consulted on matters relating to welfare amenities, adoption of new technology and the problems emanating from it, safety measures, etc. Its managements’ prerogative to accept the suggestions of workers given at participative forum.
Administrative participation involves a greater degree of sharing of authority and responsibility of the management functions. Here members are given a little more autonomy in the exercise of administrative and supervisory powers in respect of welfare measures and safety works, the operation of vocational training and apprenticeship schemes, the preparation of schedules of working hours and breaks and holidays, payment of reward for valuable suggestions received, and any other matter that may be agreed to by the members.
Decision participation is the highest form of participation, where sharing in the decision-making power is complete and the delegation of authority and responsibility of managerial function to such a body is maximum. In matters like economic, financial and administrative policies the decisions are mutually taken.
In short, workers’ participation in management can deal with and exercise supervisory, advisory and administrative functions on matters concerning safety, welfare, etc., though the ultimate responsibility is vested in the management. However, all such matters as wages, bonus, etc., which are subjects of collective bargaining, are excluded from the purview of the workers’ participation schemes.
The individual grievances are also excluded from their scope. In short, the creation of new rights as between employers and workers should be outside the jurisdiction of the participation schemes.
Levels of Participation of Workers – As Identified by Mhetras
The ‘participation’ is beautiful word because it welcomes at all levels. It has a tonic effect on the psychology of an employee.
Mhetras (1966) has identified five levels of participation:
1. Informative Participation – It is a way of sharing of information with workers regarding production figures, balance sheet, economic condition and future expansion plan, etc. The workers have no right to scrutinize the information provided by management.
2. Consultative Participation – Workers’ representatives are on matters relating welfare facilities. The joint council acts in an advisory capacity and the final decision rests with management.
3. Associative Participation – The management accepts the suggestions of the council and implements the unanimous decisions of the council.
4. Administrative Participation – The decision is already taken and the council have the right to choose the method of implementing it. This allows workers a little more autonomy in exercising administrative and supervisory powers in respect of welfare measures, safety, operation of vocational training and preparation of work schedules.
5. Decisive Participation – This is the highest form of participation where all matters, such as, economic, financial and administrative are brought under the scrutiny of the councils and the decisions are taken jointly.
The form of participation depends on the political ideology and systems adopted by a particular society. Socialist ideologies advocated direct participation at every level of management, while the capitalist societies left it unstructured. Participation is not only to protect the interest of both parties but it is also a system of checks and balances on both the groups.