Participation and common-ownership : a study of employee participation in a common-ownership firm.
Employee participation in a itish oOtXI!non. OWnerShip firm is e
the light of some of the major criticiams of workers' se1f-managemt. Thi'eG
aspects of participation are isolated: employee involvement, the purposes of
involvement, arid, the control or influence exercised as a result of involvement.
videnca on the nature and extent of participation is drawn from a study
of the history of the first nine yeara of the common-ownership experiment, and
from a field survey carried out in the firm at the end of te period. This
evidence suggests that only a small minority of employees took an active part
in the participative system of the organisa'tiori, that there was litti. unity
of purpose amongst the nployees in their use of the system, aid that a
relatively small degree of irifluenoe or control 'was exereised b,r employees
over top mamagemente
A model is outlined of the main factors hypothesised. to afjct involvement.
These factors include employees' perceived needs, the perceived relevance of
participative activities to the satisfaotioi of these needs, arid the perceived
costs of undertaking the activities in question. The low level of involvement
identified in the firm studied is related. to a situation in which it appeare4
that the Imrticiative activities concerned were of united, relevance to many
of the employees, and. that the participative system was likely to be seen as
a 'high cost' one. Charges in the structure and leadership of the partic1pativ
system are proposed to maxiuiise the relevance of involvement and mininise its
costs, and. so provide the conditions for a more realistic exploration of the
potential of self'management.
Pinafly, an action research project is described which was carried out
subsequently in the firm on the basis of this analysis. The findings of this
project tend, to support the hypothesis advanced on tha factors effecting