Employee Participation And Involvement In Human Resource Management Management Essay

People management is a complex part of business management, the terms employee involvement and employee participation are frequently used in this field. The main objective of this essay is to establish the fact that employee involvement and participation bring the positive outcome of the organisation. To establish this fact, firstly it is necessary to define their meaning in human resource management and also find out the difference between participation and involvement, and then to examine where empowerment fits within these perspectives to prove that this method is used for positive outcomes of employee relationship illustrating the literature review of this practice in the business management.

Definition of Employee Participation, Employee Involvement in human resource management

Employee participation is defined in this way that it is a process of employee involvement designed to provide employees with the opportunity to influence and where  appropriate, take part in decision making on matters which affect them.


According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD): 

Employee involvement is ‘a range of processes designed to engage the support, understanding and optimum contribution of all employees in an organisation and their commitment to its objectives’


Difference between involvement and participation


In Human resource management meaning of these two terms are quite different although it is in general dictionary there are same in meaning. In human resource management, Employee involvement can be defined in this way that employees are included in their interest. It is individual basis attachment and it is direct. Management takes the initiative with individual employees, getting included to achieve some specific common objective. It pursues the common interest between employees and management. Its main objectives are to bring forth employee empowerment and commitment. There is no hard and fast rule to grow involvement.

On the other hand, In human resource management employee participation is unlike involvement and it is a collective process. In this process it tries to join with others in every activity that matters in the company. It includes taking part in something, and is more or less often supported by some rule and or, legislation where employment rights matter for participation is practised.

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For the best effect in future, both employee involvement and participation could be practiced simultaneously. Employees have to be both involved and made to undertake for the sake of both the organisation and the individual employee.


It is clear then that there are differences between employee participation and employee involvement. The literature suggests that employee participation is a pluralist and collective approach. It aims to commitment to organisational objectives and relies on the maintenance of management control.

Recommendation on how to introduce this employee involvement and participation

Communication is the main thing to set up these employee involvement and participation, there are two types of Communication flow one is upwards and another one is downwards. By considering downward communication when top management to line staff message can be delivered in this form like staff newsletters, notice boards, staff handbooks and house journals and other formal channel can be used such as team briefings and staff meetings etc.


On the other hand, Upward communication may involve in such a way that employee feed back schemes, advice from the employee schemes (paid/unpaid), surveys of staff , appraisal schemes, and also sometimes it is lined up with total quality management TQM tools such as quality improvements, quality assessment teams.

Literature review of positive Outcomes of employee participation in organisation

Karia and Ahmad, 2000 states that Employee participation improves employees moral and skill, which makes them more qualified employees. It is claimed by Bordin et al, 2007; Spreitzer, 1996 that employee participation can increase the psychological empowerment of employees which enable the individual to improve personal capabilities .


There are some non monetary needs as creativity, achievement, and the desire for respect can be achieved through participation. Also it is argued by Spreitzer, 1996  that this environment is shaped by positive components like acknowledgement, creativity and contribution which leads to these outcomes


Steers and Porter, 1987 states that effective participation can increase the amount and accuracy of information employees have about work practices which also leads to, increase in the level of owning their work practices themselves. Employee participation improves communication and cooperation. Employees working in a participative practice, supervise themselves, which reduces the need for managers and so cuts the overhead labour costs.

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 Participation teaches employees new skills and helps their training and identifies the leaders in them.


Participation increases loyalty and trust within the organization because in a setting where participation and rewards take place, the group may enforce individuals to obey the taken decisions (Lawler et al, 2004; Pitts, 1995). On the other hand, Lewis et al argues about the negative outcomes of participation.

Literature review on employee Involvements on positive outcomes


The positive outcomes are narrated here in employee involvements in a company in terms of  Performance, Effectiveness, satisfaction and flexibility, however, it is also noted that the outcomes are most likely to be enjoyed in the long run for the benefit of the company and its employees. it is narraeted by Kathuria and Partovi, 1999; Wagner,1994; Latham et al, 1982 that employ involvement has an impact on performance. Another study conducted by Jayaram et al. p17, 1999 suggested that “deploying strategy-specific bundles of human resource management practices has a significant influence on manufacturing performance, specifically, corresponding dimensions of



Employee involvement definitely creates positive attitudes towards the organisation. It is stated by (Guest and Pecci, 1992) that the key goal is therefore to acquire a high degree of organizational commitment.


Another point to consider by (Magjuka, 1993) here is that employee can make suggestions by involving decision making for the improvements in performance but executives have the ultimate decision making power, which they have the right either to implement or veto suggestions made by employees.


Another literature review suggests that employee involvement has an impact on flexibility. Statistical data collected by Kathuria and Partovi, p34, 1999 in the study from 483 individuals in 99 different manufacturing companies confirms the “the notion of congruent work force management practices that higher performing manufacturing managers use in environments characterized by a high emphasis on manufacturing flexibility”.


However, the study was done by Kathuria and Partovi, 1999, the use of problem solving, clarifying, monitoring and informing by manufacturing managers does not have any significant effect on their performance when the situation is characterized by flexibility.



 It is stated by Vroom and Jago, 1988 that when consultation and information are involved which really shows the positive effects of employee involvement on performance and satisfaction. Due to the above literature review it is clear that, the positive outcomes are explained in terms of performance, effectiveness, satisfaction and flexibility, however, it is noted that the positives outcomes are most likely to be enjoyed in the long run.


Disadvantages of employee involvement and participation

There are following disadvantages in involvement and participation in business following below:


it is argued that employees should be less informed than managers on the areas which they make their decisions different.


Managers and executives might think that they will be redundant due to the share of involvement and participation of employee in business management,

The rewards motivating workers to share their ideas can be larger than the value of the ideas themselves.


Some employees have limited ambitions and expectations and so when they are fully committed to a decision, employees may be reluctant to change it.

In the next point it is stated that, not everyone has strong desires for creativity and achievement; some has low expectations about their current or future situations.

Participation and involvement is time consuming and decisions making will be slow due to involvement.


Training or retraining of employees can be expensive. Once participation is introduced to the employees it will be difficult to withdraw from the employees.


It is concluded from the above discussion and analysis that there are some disadvantages in introducing the policy of employee involvement and participation but on the other hand advantages are more prominent than disadvantages that makes negligibly small. It is observed that ideally there are benefits ranging from easing the obedience to taken decisions to increase creativity. It appears that employee involvement and participation really empowers employees in the workplace and create a democratic processes where an employee involvement and participation share decision making and bring forward the positive outcome of the business.


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