Introduction to Organizational Behavior


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Pages : 484; Paperback;
210 X 275 mm approx.

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Pages : 271; Paperback;
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Introduction to Organizational Behavior, Management Textbook, Workbook

Empowerment and Participation : Chapter 12

The term empowerment means giving employees power and authority to make decisions on their own. When people are allowed to work with minimal interference from their superiors and are given the authority and responsibility to make decisions, they are said to be empowered. Employees can be empowered by ensuring their participation in decision-making. Participation is defined as the mental and emotional involvement of people in the activities of the group, which encourages them take responsibility for and contribute to the achievement of group goals.

Participation proves advantageous for the organization in many ways. It improves the quality and quantity of output. It also improves the motivation levels of employees, decreases the rate of attrition and absenteeism, and improves communication within the organization. Other lesser tangible benefits are decreases in the number of conflicts, lower stress levels, greater commitment to goals, and lower resistance to change. Certain prerequisites are essential for participation; for instance, adequate time should be allowed for participation, and the potential benefits of participation should be greater than the costs involved. For participating effectively, the employees must also have the relevant abilities and skills, and should be interested in that particular area of work. The participants should be able to exchange their ideas effectively with each other and they should not perceive the process as a threat to their position or status. The degree of participation also depends on the area of job freedom for that particular department. There are many programs that can be used to encourage participation of employees. Some programs involve employees only to a modest extent, while other programs require a substantial amount of participation from employees.

The most common participation programs are consultative management, suggestion programs, quality circles and TQM, middle-management committees, industrial democracy and self-managing teams. One or more of such programs can be used within the same organization. Consultative management refers to the practice of managers obtaining feedback and contributions from employees on certain issues for making decisions.

Suggestion programs are formal plans developed by the organization which invite the employees to give suggestions for work improvements. Quality circles are voluntary groups, comprising employees who are trained in statistical techniques and problem-solving skills. They attempt to generate ideas to improve the working conditions and productivity of the organization. The TQM approach is an ongoing effort to involve all employees of an organization in the search for novel ways to improve its operations. This approach involves training employees in statistical methods and giving them the opportunity to develop extensive problem-solving and group decision-making skills. Middle-management committees provide junior directors the opportunity to understand a particular problem and recommend solutions for it. The board of junior directors carefully studies and analyzes the problem and presents its recommendations to the top management. Industrial democracy is a participation program in which workers' participation at various levels is made mandatory by the government, especially for those decisions that affect the workers.

Self-managing teams undertake extensive group discussions and use the ideas and influence of the group for making decisions. Participation has a few limitations. Due to the complex technology and organizational structure of today's work setup, some people may find it difficult to participate in different and varied organizational issues. Problems may also crop up when employees make suggestions in areas where they are not really competent.

Employees may expect consultation on every issue, whether they have the relevant expertise or not, and when they are not consulted, they may feel resentful. Some superiors too may face difficulties in relating to their subordinates as they may feel that their traditional authority is threatened. They may be uncomfortable in their roles as coaches and facilitators. Another serious drawback of participation is that it could be used to manipulate employees.

Chapter 12 : Overview

Definition of Leadership
Traits of Effective Leaders
Leadership Behaviors Vs Traits
Leadership Skills

Leadership Theories
Trait Theories
Behavioral Theories
Contingency Approaches to Leadership