An Economic Perspective on Employee Participation

David Marsden and Almudena Cañibano

in The Oxford Handbook of Participation in Organizations

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

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Business and Management

An Economic Perspective on Employee Participation

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  • Business and Management
  • Organizational Theory and Behaviour



The approach of this article is to look at participation against the canvas of the employment relationship, its organization, core processes, and their outcomes for organizational performance and social well-being. The article starts with a brief historical overview of developments over the past forty years because it is useful to set theories in their wider historical context: why people posed the questions they did at a particular time. It then reviews a selection of the major theoretical approaches that illustrate the broad tent which encompasses the ‘economic approach’. The article considers the diffusion and the ecology of participatory practices and how these have been interpreted. Next, it presents a partial survey of recent quantitative work on the performance effects of participatory practices updating that of Levine and Tyson. Finally, the article examines some of the conceptual problems posed by these studies.

Keywords: participation; employment relationship; organizational performance; social well-being; participatory practices

Article.  14225 words. 

Subjects: Business and Management ; Organizational Theory and Behaviour

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