Submitted by admin on Wed, 07/30/2014 - 10:52
Participatory (Participative, or Consulting) management is the practice in which the organization's management culture empowers employees to participate in organizational decision making. This practice grew out of the human relations movement in the 1920s, and is based on some of the principles discovered by scholars doing research in management and organization studies, such as the Hawthorne Effect.
Senior managers still retain final decision making authority when participatory management is practiced, employees are encouraged to voice their opinions about their working conditions in a safe environment, protected from the potential defensiveness of middle managers who they might criticize.
In participative management employees at all levels are encouraged to contribute ideas, which can lead to identifying and setting organizational-goals, problem solving, and other decisions that may directly affect them. This process is known to greatly enhance the effectiveness of the organization. Employees feel wanted, respected and show more ownership, loyalty and responsibility towards the organization. It becomes a matter of Employee pride when some of the inputs from employees are considered and implemented.
No matter how smart of experienced the manager may be, they may still not have the collective intelligence of the group. Decisions tend to be better when they can call on a wider range of knowledge, information and experience. Partcipatory management is best practiced by having regular meetings on various topics like safety, annual plan, work place improvements etc. Ideas should be collated by one person and action owners can be identified for further analysis. Change management becomes much easier since the employees are part of change and they act as change champions. We can avoid decisions which seem to be made in some ivory tower.
The drawback of this setup is that it can slow up decision making process and if the employee inputs are not considered they can start questioning the whole process and it can lead to more delays. This has to be done by PMs who have good communication and facilitation skills.
Despite the benefits of participative management, it is important to remember that not every type of business strategy, participative decision making included, is equally effective for every company or employee.