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Participatory management is the practice of empowering employees to participate in organizational decision making. This practice grew out of the human relations movement in the 1920s, and is based on some of the principles discovered by scholars doing research in management and organization studies, such as the Hawthorne Effect.
While senior managers still retain final decision making authority when participatory management is practiced, employees are encouraged to voice their opinions about their working conditions in a safe environment, protected from the potential defensiveness of middle managers who they might criticize.
There is some criticism of participatory management (see Heckscher, below), particularly because it is difficult to combine this practice with a more financially oriented approach to restructuring that may require downsizing.
Barle, Phil. website: Participatory Management module: Methods to Increase Staff Input in Organizational Decision Making.
Heckscher, Charles. 1995. "The Failure of Participatory Management", Across the Board 54 (Nov/Dec 1995): 16-21.
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