Author(s): Kanter RM
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Abstract There are two reasons that current corporate efforts to achieve employee "participation" often seem fragile and temporary: unrealistic expectations about the appropriate use of participation and a failure to manage participation efforts for maximum success. Participation is most appropriate when, for example, expertise is diffused, issues are controversial, problems cut across existing roles, or the development of people is desired; autonomy and individual responsibility may be more appropriate under the opposite conditions. Kanter discusses six sets of dilemmas that must be resolved to ensure that participating teams work effectively for the organization: dilemmas around initiation, structure, issue choice, teamwork, links between teams and their environment, and evaluation/continuation. Kanter concludes that participation works best when it is well managed. Participation is best viewed not as a permanent "program" or a "formula" but as temporary episodes of high involvement alternating with a more routine everyday structure.
This article was published in Organ Dyn
and referenced in Business and Economics Journal