Conceptualizing Employee Participation in Organizations

Adrian Wilkinson, Paul J. Gollan, Mick Marchington and David Lewin

in The Oxford Handbook of Participation in Organizations

Published in print February 2010 | ISBN: 9780199207268
Published online May 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191584817 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Business and Management

Conceptualizing Employee Participation in Organizations

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  • Organizational Theory and Behaviour
  • Business Ethics


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The concept of employee participation is common to many different discipline areas in the social sciences. The form participation takes varies considerably depending on the discipline. On the one hand, it can relate to trade union representation through joint consultative committees and collective bargaining, to worker cooperatives or to legislation designed to provide channels for employee representatives to engage in some form of joint decision making with employers. On the other hand, it can encompass myriad mechanisms that employers introduce in order to provide information to their staff or to offer them the chance to engage in joint problem-solving groups or use their skills at work via job-enrichment programmes. This article examines the dynamics of participation, illustrating how different forms have come to prominence at different periods in recent history. It looks at how these specific practices might interact with one another.

Keywords: employee participation; trade union; collective bargaining; problem-solving groups; job enrichment

Article.  9914 words. 

Subjects: Organizational Theory and Behaviour ; Business Ethics

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