Participation and Performance - Importance of Participation

The greatest and widely accepted benefit of participation is the increased work ownership of employee. An employee is better able to relate himself/herself with his or her work and this improves performance and efficiency at work.

John Newstrom and Keith Davis worked extensively upon the subject. They identified three variables that lead to increased performance. These variables are a part of participative management.

According to them, the three variables that collectively enhance performance are:

  • Removing conditions of powerlessness
  • Enhance job related self efficacy
  • Perception of empowerment

  • Removing conditions of Powerlessness: This implies empowering the employees to take decisions on their own, be enterprising and take more risks. This requires a wholesome change in the entire organizational structure and culture. Then leadership becomes a crucial aspect. The choice of a leader who can inspire, motivate and delegate with equal efficacy assumes importance.

    The reward system needs a revamp. Psychologically empowerment connotes increased responsibilities in the mind of an employee, a hike is required.

    Finally, participation should result in either job enrichment or job enlargement. Job enlargement means expanding the job responsibilities - adding task elements horizontally. Job enrichment on the other hand means that the job becomes more rewarding - monetarily and otherwise.

  • Enhance Job Related Self Efficacy: Increase in responsibilities also demands increased efficiency at work. This is achieved by providing training helping an employee achieve job mastery. Laying down benchmarks for a certain set of responsibilities by the use of role models (those who have already accomplished tasks in similar capacities under similar workload) also benefits.

    Since training induces behavioral changes there is a need for reinforcing the new behaviors. It is this change in attitude and behavior that brings in increased efficiency. Each employee also requires support from those above him and people working his supervision. Support functions become important because the individual now himself delegates his own work. This trickles down to the bottom or the lower level and this is how participation happens across various levels.

  • Perception of Empowerment: Employees often misunderstand the idea of participation. There may be a certain group of employees who participate aggressively and in the process their own work gets affected. These perceptions need to be taken care of otherwise they may be well the undoing of all the good work.

    Empowerment means more competence and value addition to work. It means that individual accepts the responsibilities with humility and fulfills them with grace and efficacy. It calls for increased use of talent. It is in wake of this that the concept of talent management is fast evolving.

One limitation of participative management is that the results or decision making doesn’t improve overnight. The above mentioned three variables have been effectively used in organizations implementing participative management. They can act as a catalyst in speeding up the results.


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