Reasons for Failure of Participative Management

Participative management is an effective decision making tool. It is often the managers who implement it the wrong way.

Participative management calls for a change and this change can not come overnight. You require patience and consistency before employees realize the usefulness of the management style.

There are other problems that often arise with the managers. The problems may arise because of the following:

  1. Managers often view it as the ends and not as a tool.
  2. There is confusion if whether participative management means democratization.
  3. Managers sometimes manipulate the process for their own advantage.

Participative Management may fail because of the following reasons:

  • Resistance to Change: Participative Management calls for a change in the entire organizational culture. Older employees specially resist change and do not welcome it. They take it as a device to curtail their powers. Training is also not welcome.

  • Workers tendency to deviate: Managers must be aware of the tendency of the workers to try spending more time formulating strategies than focus on job in hand. This needs to taken care of. Again top level management may not support this style if they find existent inefficiencies.

  • One stop Solution: Participative management can not always be a one stop solution for every problem. Often the manager needs to delegate or take a decision on his own without consulting or seeking others advice. For example, cases where disciplinary action is needed do not qualify for participative management.

  • Size of the Organization: This style of management can be more difficult to implement in organizations that are big in size. Big size means that there are large numbers of management layers. This often makes registering opinions and suggestions difficult. More difficult can be the implementation of the same.

  • Abuse of Authority: Managers sometimes look upon their own jobs as a license instead as a responsibility. They are unwilling to give away some authority to their subordinate which slows down and chokes the process of decision making. Often such managers complain of being overburdened with responsibilities. This fails the idea of participative management.

  • Misunderstanding Participation: This is yet another reason for failure of participative management. Managers sometimes fail to understand that participative management is not the same as delegating or distributing responsibility. They fail to realize that participative style also involves considering the suggestions and recommendations of employees with respect and dignity.

Participation is isolation can be of no use to the organization. It is a mere wastage of time and resources then. Most of the organizations view it an end per se and not a mere tool. Once this happens then participation can be used as an effective tool to problem solving.


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