2.0 Employee Involvement and Participation

Employee involvement and participation are strategies by which sets of practices are adopted in order to promote increased employee performance through commitment, participation and engagement with the organisation. Beardwell and Claydon (2007) state that ‘Involvement and participation, while closely related, are conceptually and philosophically distinct’ (p526), therefore to ensure investigation and analysis is relevant and accurate it is necessary to understand what is meant by these two terms.

1.1 Employee Involvement

Gennard and Judge (2005 p180) describe employee involvement (EI) as a process of giving information and gaining commitment, whilst Guest (1986 cited Bratton and Gold 2007 p451) describes it as a process of securing shared interest. That said EI is a process of two-way communication aimed at securing employee loyalty.

1.1.1 Objectives of Employee Involvement
Verman (1995 cited Bratton and Gold 2007 p456) theorises moral, economic and behavioural factors as reasons why EI schemes are introduced. Morally it is ethical to involve employees in decisions that concern them; economically it improves decision making through utilising employee knowledge and behaviourally employers are able to influence unity and mutual trust through the provision of information. Ramsay argues (cited Gennard and Judge 2005 p183) that ‘if the business awareness of employees can be improved… the ‘rumour grapevine’ will be reduced and there is a higher probability that they will have a greater job interest, improved knowledge and understanding of the reasons for management decisions’. Agreeing with this it is important to express that the focus of EI is to communicate with and gain ideas from employees. However there is little sharing of power; and whilst managers seek to gain approval for their decisions and corporate goals this is within a unitarist context. Thus management have control and in practice employees have...

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