Worker’s Participation in Management

  1. Worker-Director

In this method, one or two representatives of workers are nominated or elected on the Board of Directors. This is full fledged and highest form of worker’s participation in management. In India, D.C.M. and a few other companies provide representation o workers on their Board of Directors.

  1. Suggestion Schemes

Under this system, workers are invited and encouraged to offer suggestions for improving the working of the enterprise. A suggestion box is installed. Any worker can write his suggestions and put it into the box. Periodically all the suggestions are scrutinized by the Suggestions Committee. Good suggestions are accepted for implementation and suitable rewards are given to the concerned workers. Suggestions schemes encourage worker’s interest in the functioning of the enterprise.

  1. Grievance Procedure

A grievance procedure also provides an opportunity to the workers to participate in decisions on matters affecting their interests. It is established for an early settlement of worker’s grievances. In India Sec. 9-C of the Industrial Disputes Act provides that in every establishment in which 100 or more workers are employed or have been employed on any one day in the preceding twelve months, he employer shall set up a time bound grievance redressal procedure. The model Grievance Procedure evolved by the 15th Indian Indian Labour Conference has a three-tier system for settlement of grievances at the level of :

i. The immediate supervisor

ii. Department head

iii. A bipartite grievance committee representing the management and the union.

If grievance committee is not able to redress the grievance, there is a provision for arbitration or appeal to the chief executive of the organization. These are successive time bound steps, each leading to the next step in case of non-redressal of the grievance to the satisfaction of workers.

  1. Quality Circle

A quality circle is a unique concept which provides for voluntary participation by the workers in the direction of quality improvement and self-development. Quality circles first originated in Japan during 1962 and then spread to many other countries including India.

The quality circles are autonomous units of about 10 workers, usually lead by a supervisor or a senior worker and organized as work units The workers, who have a shared area of responsibility, meet weekly to discuss, analyse and propose solutions to ongoing problems. Some typical methods in improving production method and quality involve reducing defects, scrap, rework and downtime which are expected to lead to cost reduction as well as increased productivity. In addition quality circles intend to focus attention on the self development of workers and the improvement of working conditions. Through this process, there is improvement of worker’s morale and motivation, stimulation of teamwork, and recognition to their achievements.

Reasons for Failure of Worker’s Participation in India

The scheme of worker’s participation in management has failed in India mainly due to the following reasons :

  1. Employers have by and large resisted worker’s participation in decision-making. Hey feel that workers are not competent enough to take decisions. There is no clear evidence to convince managers that participative management will really lead to higher productivity and profitability.
  2. Lower level needs of workers are not fully satisfied. Therefore, majority of Indian workers are not motivated enough to assume decision making responsibility either directly or through their representatives
  3. Worker’s representatives who participate in management have to perform the dual role of worker’s spokesmen and co-managers. Very few representatives are competent enough to assume the two incompatible roles.
  4. Generally, trade unions leaders who represent workers are also active members of political parties. While participating in management they give priority to political interests rather than the interests of workers.
  5. Schemes of worker’s participation have been initiated and sponsored by the Government. There has been lack of initiative on the part of both employers and Trade Unions.

Requirements of Successful Worker’s Participation in Management

The following conditions must be fulfilled for effective participation:

  1. The attitude of the management must be broad, progressive and democratic. It must be willing to associate the workers and discuss the problems freely and frankly with them.
  2. The workers must have a strong trade union with enlightened leadership. They must have the willingness to participate in the management of the enterprise.
  3. Management and workers must understand clearly the objectives of such participation. Management should not take it as an imposed liability and workers should not use it for expressing their grievances and demands only.
  4. Workers and their representatives should be provided education and training in the philosophy and process of participative management. Workers should be made aware of the benefits of participation.
  5. Mere legislation cannot make participation successful. A true spirit of mutual cooperation and commitment to participation must be developed on the part of both management and labour. An atmosphere of trust should be created on both sides.

Participation should be a continuous process. Adequate time must be allowed to let it take roots. It has to be slow and steady process. To begin with participation should start at the operating level of management.

Worker’s Participation in Management

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  1. Can you make a list of all the important thinkers in the field of HRM and their contributions?

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