Management by participation

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Management by participation is one of the motivational techniques aimed at activating and engaging employees, and at the same time meeting their higher order needs. Employee is incorporated into the management process and has an influence on the decision making process. Employee participation can also have financial dimension. Depending on the adopted criterion we can distinguish following types of participation: formal, informal, direct, indirect, active and passive. In theory the management there are two kinds of participation models an American and a German. First is characterized by trust and tolerance, domination of managers and less formal contacts. In the German model important role is played by co-decision, negotiation and legal regulations.

Role of manager in the creation of participation

  • influence,
  • Interactions (cooperation and search for compatibility)
  • exchange of information,
  • change in the orientation
  • displaying trust and tolerance.

The role of employees in management by participation

  • voting
  • membership in the works council and the supervisory board,
  • providing information and active forms of communication,
  • participation in the profits,
  • participation in the benefits,
  • participation in capital and share of company.

Levels of participation

There are eight levels of participation. These levels correspond to the degree of admission of subordinates to management.

  • right to information,
  • right to be heard,
  • right to speak,
  • right to advise,
  • right to object,
  • right to consent,
  • right to dispute and settlement,
  • exclusive right for the settlement,

Advantages and disadvantages of management by participation


  • motivational nature,
  • improved relations between supervisor and subordinates,
  • creating opportunities for staff development,
  • increased efficiency,
  • possibility to reduce the social unrest.


  • diffusion of responsibility for the decisions taken,
  • difficulties in obtaining the required responsibility and slow decision making,
  • barriers resulting from inadequate training for employees in management tasks.

See also:


  • Marrow, A. J., Bowers, D. G., & Seashore, S. E. (1967). Management by participation. IMR; Industrial Management Review (pre-1986), 9(1), 118.
  • Lawler III, E. E. (1986). High-Involvement Management. Participative Strategies for Improving Organizational Performance. Jossey-Bass Inc., Publishers, 350 Sansome Street, San Francisco, CA 94104.
  • Marrow, A., Bowers, D., & Seashore, S. (1967). Management by participation, Creating a climate for personal and organizational development.
  • Driscoll, J. W. (1978). Trust and participation in organizational decision making as predictors of satisfaction. Academy of management journal, 21(1), 44-56.