Chat with us, powered by LiveChat CH8Empowerment and Participation Safety Committee Management Paper | Abc Paper
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1-This chapter started off with a story about a large aircraft manufacturer. What did this company do to help reduce hazards and risks? Ten years after this project, what did they find out about the people that participated in this program?2-Safety committee members reduced the accidents in their factory by becoming more aware of safety problems. There were three things that management allowed these workers to do to reduce accidents. Those three things were what?3-Who is this and what is he known and famous for? (Don’t give me a dumb answer, like “he’s a safety guy”)4-What is Empowerment and why is it important to a worker?5-Empowering a worker has five broad approaches, what are those five and which is the one you think is the most important?6-One researcher, for example discovered a shocking phenomenon. What was that phenomenon and why should we as safety people be worried about it?7-In this chapter, the author identifies two types of power that managers might use. What are those two types of power and which one do you believe would be most sucessful?8-What does this chart tell us about the relationship of job freedom and the degree of employee participation?9-On the powerpoint slide that shows “Suggestion Programs” the last paragraph states, “The suggestions are screened for applicability and cost-benefit ratio, resulting in an acceptance rate of about ? percent in most organizations”. What is the stated percentage of accepted suggestions?10-As good as worker participation sound it does have some limitations. Some managers have a problem accepting high involvement systems. The managers most likely are influenced by what thoughts and theories?
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Chapter 8
Empowerment
and
Participation
A large aircraft manufacturer employed up to 20,000
assembly workers during a 10-year period. It used a safety
committee system in which each department was
represented on the committee by one of its workers. During
those 10 years a surprising phenomenon emerged.
When people became safety committee members, they
ceased having disabling injuries. This record occurred
despite the fact that there were hundreds of rotating
members during the decade, and sometimes even the
seemingly accident-prone workers were appointed
committee members. The facts in this case show a significant
difference between committee members and nonmembers
with
The safety committee members in the aircraft firm probably
changed their own behavior for at least four major reasons.
They became more aware of safety problems, they were
involved in the process of improving safety practices, they were
given some resources, and they felt as though they had not only
responsibility but also some power to affect the outcomes. The
idea of empowering employees serves as the foundation for
participation.
Participation has excellent potential for
developing employees and building teamwork,
But it is a difficult practice and can fail if it is
poorly applied or if executives do not truly believe
in its value.
When it is used effectively, two of the best results
are acceptance of change and a strong
commitment to goals that encourage better
performance.
The History of a Quality Improvement Pioneer
William Edwards Deming was an American engineer, statistician, professor,
author, lecturer, and management consultant. Educated initially as an
electrical engineer and later specializing in mathematical physics, he helped
develop the sampling techniques still used by the U.S. Department of the
Census and the Bureau of Labor Statistics
The History of a Quality Improvement Pioneer
Deming is best known for his work in Japan after WWII, particularly his
work with the leaders of Japanese industry. That work began in August 1950
at the Hakone Convention Center in Tokyo when Deming delivered a speech
on what he called ‘Statistical Product Quality Administration.’
Many in Japan credit Deming as one of the inspirations for what has
become known as the Japanese post-war economic miracle of 1950 to
1960, when Japan rose from the ashes of war on the road to becoming the
second largest economy in the world through processes partially
influenced by the ideas Deming taught.
What Is Empowerment?
Almost every society has within it some minority groups that
feel incapable of controlling their own destiny. Similarly,
most work organizations have a number of individuals or
groups of employees who believe they are dependent on
others and that their own efforts will have little impact on
performance. This powerlessness contributes to the
frustrating experience of low self-efficacy—
Feelings of low self-efficacy are
similar to the well-known impostor
phenomenon in which individuals
at all levels and in all industries (but
notably in academia and medicine)
fail to acknowledge properly their
own expertise and
accomplishments. Instead, they
feel like a fake and erroneously
attribute their success to luck,
charm, personal contacts, or timing,
instead of talent, competence, or
perseverance.
Empowerment is any process that provides greater
autonomy to employees through the sharing of relevant
information and the provision of control over factors
affecting job performance.
Empowerment helps
remove the conditions that
cause powerlessness while
enhancing employee
feelings of self-efficacy.
Five broad approaches to Empowerment
✓ Helping employees achieve job mastery (giving proper training,
coaching, and guided experience that will result in initial
successes)
✓ Allowing more control (giving them discretion over job
performance and then holding them accountable for outcomes)
✓ Providing successful role models (allowing them to observe peers
who already perform successfully on the job)
✓ Using social reinforcement and persuasion (giving praise,
encouragement, and verbal feedback designed to raise selfconfidence)
✓ Giving emotional support (providing reduction of stress and
anxiety through better role definition, task assistance, and honest
expressions of caring)
Managers have many behavioral tools available to them
to attack the powerlessness problem.
Some of these tools, such as mutual goal setting, job
feedback, modeling, and contingent reward systems,
have already been discussed in previous chapters. A major
approach, however, lies in the use of various programs for
participative management. Such programs provide
employees with varying degrees of perceived
(psychological) ownership, input into various steps in the
decision-making process, and the key feeling of choice in
their work environment.
What Is Participation?
Participation is the mental and emotional involvement
of people in group situations that encourages them to
contribute to group goals and share responsibility for them.
This definition entails three important ideas—
involvement, contribution, and responsibility.
Involvement First and foremost, participation
means meaningful involvement rather than mere muscular
activity. A person who participates is ego-involved instead of
merely task involved.
Some managers mistake task involvement for true
participation. They go through the motions of participation,
but nothing more. They hold meetings, ask opinions, and so
on, but all the time it is perfectly clear to employees (or safely
assumed) that their manager is an autocratic boss who wants
no ideas. These empty managerial actions constitute
pseudoparticipation (fake involvement, or merely a façade). As
a result, employees fail to become ego-involved.
Some managers mistake task involvement for true
participation. They go through the motions of participation,
but nothing more. They hold meetings, ask opinions, and so
on, but all the time it is perfectly clear to employees (or
safely assumed) that their manager is an autocratic boss
who wants no ideas. These empty managerial actions
constitute pseudoparticipation (fake involvement, or merely
a façade). As a result, employees fail to become
ego-involved.
Motivation to Contribute
A second concept in participation is that it stimulates
people to contribute. They are empowered to release their
own resources of initiative and creativity toward the
objectives of the organization, just as Theory Y predicts. In
this way, participation differs dramatically from consent.
The practice of consent uses only the creativity of the
manager, who brings ideas to the group and uses
persuasiveness to obtain the members’ consent. The
consenters do not contribute; they merely acquiesce and
passively approve. Participation is more than getting
consent for something that has already been decided. Its
great value is that it taps the creativity of all employees.
Acceptance of Responsibility
Participation encourages people to accept responsibility in
their group’s activities. It is a social process by which people
become self-involved in an organization, committed to it,
and truly want to see it work successfully. When they talk
about their organization, they begin to say “we,” not
“they.” When they see a job problem, it is “ours,” not
“theirs.” Participation helps them become good
organizational citizens who take ownership for results
rather than non responsible, machine like performers.
Why Is Participation Popular?
The benefits of participation were first demonstrated
experimentally in classic studies in industry by
Roethlisberger, Coch and French, and others.
Conducted by skillful social scientists under controlled
conditions, these experiments were useful in drawing
attention to the potential value of participation. Their
collective results suggested the general proposition
that, especially in the introduction of changes,
participation tends to improve performance and job
satisfaction.
U.S. businesses are struggling to compete in the
global marketplace. Consequently, they are showing a
keen interest in any managerial practice that offers to
aid in the attraction or retention of qualified
employees, increase productivity, or to speed the
introduction of products to market. Participative
practices expedite these goals by placing more
responsibility at lower levels of the organization and by
speeding up the approval process.
Participation also seems to help satisfy the awakening
employee need for meaning and fulfillment at work. This
search for spirit or harmony among all facets of life as guided
by a higher (religious) power, has challenged organizations
such as Tom’s of Maine, Boeing, Lotus Development, and
Medtronic to search for ways to restore a “soul” to their
workplaces.
These organizations have found that employees are
searching for a sense of significance, the opportunity to use
their minds, and a chance to devote their efforts to a higher
purpose in their work. Meaningful participation can help
satisfy those needs.
The educational level of the workforce often provides
workers with unique capacities that can be applied
creatively to work problems. These employees have also
acquired both a greater desire for influencing work-related
decisions and a strong expectation that they will be
allowed to participate in these decisions. An equally
strong argument can be made that participation is an
ethical imperative for managers.
HOW PARTICIPATION WORKS
There is evidence to suggest that the intellectual resources of many
employees today are underutilized. One researcher, for example,
discovered a shocking phenomenon. She found that while 88 percent of
workers reported they can see a variety of ways to improve their work,
only 15 percent currently make suggestions. Among the probable reasons
are an unreceptive manager, a lack of recognition for offering ideas, and
general disengagement
Leader – Member
Exchange Model
This model suggests that leaders and their followers develop a unique reciprocal
relationship, with the leader selectively delegating, informing, consulting,
mentoring, praising, or rewarding each employee.
In exchange, each subordinate contributes various degrees of task
performance, loyalty, and respect to the manager.
The quality of the relationships varies, depending on the balance of exchanges
made, with some employees attaining favored status (the in-group) and
others perceiving some unfairness in their treatment (the out-group).
Managerial perceptions are important, too. If a manager believes an
employee has high ability and that a high-quality exchange relationship exists,
the manager is more likely to allow a greater degree of influence in decisions.
Two Views of Power
When managers first consider the need to empower employees through
participation, they often ask, “If I share authority with my employees,
don’t I lose some of it?” This is a natural fear that stems from a view of
managers as controllers, but it is not a justifiable one because
participative managers often still retain final authority.
The manager of a computer operation having more than 50 employees felt
that some changes were needed.
In the beginning she tried her usual autocratic approach, aided by a consultant.
Desired changes were proposed, but the employees would not accept them.
Finally, the effort was abandoned. The manager continued to think that
changes were necessary, so a year later she tried again, using more
participatory approaches.
She discussed the need with her supervisors and several key
employees. Then, she set up committees to work on designated parts of
a self-examination study.
The groups worked hard, and in a few months they submitted a
comprehensive report that recommended a number of important
changes.
In this instance, the members felt a sense of pride and ownership in the
report. It was theirs. They had created it. The result was that they made
a genuine effort to implement it. With the full support of the whole
group, they made substantial changes.
Participation had increased the manager’s power and influence.
Prerequisites for Participation
Participation for deciding a course of action in an organization can take place only
within the group’s area of job freedom.
Some degree of restriction is required with regard to the parts of an organization
in order to maintain unity for the whole. Each separate subunit cannot make
decisions that violate policy, collective-bargaining agreements, legal
requirements, and similar restraints. Similarly, the physical environment (a
flood that results in the closing of a plant is an extreme example) and personal
limitations (such as an employee’s not understanding electronics) impose
restraints. The area of job freedom for any department is its area of discretion
after all restraints have been applied.
There is never complete freedom, even for the top executive.
Emotional Intelligence
One important contingency factor that affects the use of participation is a
leader’s emotional intelligence. This is a combination of two personal
abilities—self-awareness and self-management—and two social
competencies—social awareness and relationship management.
The personal qualities suggest that a leader should be aware of and
understand one’s own feelings, to realize why one is feeling that way, and
to manage one’s own emotions effectively. A parallel set of social skills
deals with a leader’s ability to assess and manage the emotions of his or
her employees. Emotionally intelligent leaders use their empathy,
compassion, optimism, humor, integrity, caring, and persuasiveness to build
the kind of relationship with employees that assures them that their talents
and inputs will be used effectively for the benefit of all.
The difference between an employee’s desired and actual
participation gives a measure of the potential effectiveness of
participation, assuming the employee has the ability to contribute.
When employees want more participation than they have, they are
“participatively deprived” and there is underparticipation.
In the opposite situation, when they have more participation than they
want, they are “participatively saturated” and there is
overparticipation.
A consultant was asked to assess employee attitudes within a
department in one company.
One question asked of the employees focused on the frequency
with which they were allowed to participate in decision making.
The contrast in responses was striking.
For example, one employee replied, “All the
time—about three or four times a week.” Another
responded by saying, “Almost never—only three
or four times a week.”
Programs for Participation
Suggestion programs
are formal plans to invite individual
employees to recommend work
improvements. In most companies, the
employee whose suggestion results in a
cost savings may receive a monetary
award in proportion to the first year’s
savings. Thus, the award can range
from as low as $25 to as high as
$50,000 or more in outstanding cases.
The suggestions are screened for
applicability and cost-benefit ratio,
resulting in an acceptance rate of about
25 percent in most organizations.
Quality Circles
Voluntary groups that receive training in process improvements and
problem-solving skills and then meet to produce ideas for improving
productivity and working conditions are known as quality circles.
They meet regularly, apply problem analysis/ problem-solving skills and
statistical tools, and generate solutions for management to evaluate and
implement.
Quality circles gained utility as an involvement technique in the United
States and Europe after achieving widespread success and popularity in
Japan.
Rapid-Cycle Decision Making
Involving employees in participative processes typically takes time
and draws them away from immediately-productive tasks.
Salespersons, wait staff, physicians, and attorneys are just a few
examples of professions where “time is money” and individuals are
reluctant to spend hours in group meetings despite their desire to
shape their own futures.
Self-Managing Teams
Some firms have moved beyond limited forms of participation, allowing a
number of major decisions to be made by employee groups. These
progressive approaches incorporate extensive use of group discussion,
which makes full use of group ideas and group influence. These groups
often seek to achieve consensus support for their actions, and this reflects
many of the ideas adapted from successful Japanese firms.
Employee Ownership Plans
Employee ownership of a firm emerges when employees provide the capital
to purchase control of an existing operation.
The stimulus often comes from threatened closings of marginally profitable
plants, where workers see little hope of other employment in a devastated
local economy. Employee ownership has been tried in diverse industries,
such as plywood, meat packing, steel, and furniture manufacturing. On the
surface, these plans appear to offer the highest degree of participative
decision making, as employees take control. Better management,
heightened morale, and improved productivity have all been predicted to
follow.
Springfield Remanufacturing Corp (SRC)
Established in 1983 when 13 employees of International Harvester
purchased a part of that company that rebuilt truck engines, with
$100,000 of their own money and $8.9 million in loans, with the goal of
saving 119 jobs. By 1988, SRC’s debt to equity ratio was down to 1.8 to
1, and the business had a value of $43 million. The stock price, $0.10 in
1983, had increased to $13 per share. By 2015, the stock was worth over
$199 per share.
Flexible Work Arrangements
It is abundantly clear that many employees today value autonomy,
choice, empowerment, and control. A parallel need is for an increasingly
greater (and healthier) balance between the demands of work and
family life. One broad response to these pressures is to grant
employees more flexibility (independent choice) in determining how,
when, and where work gets done. A variety of flexible work
arrangements are now offered by a majority of U.S. employers.
Benefits of Participation
As you can see from the preceding discussion of participative
programs in various types of organizations under many different
operating conditions, participation has contributed to a variety of
benefits. Some of these are direct; others are less tangible.
Participation typically brings higher output and a better quality of
output. Sometimes the quality improvement alone is worth the time
invested in participation. Employees often make suggestions for both
quality and quantity improvements. Although not all the ideas are
useful, those that are produce genuine long-run improvements
Limitations of Participation
In the early part of this chapter, we identified the major forces pushing
toward an increase in the practice of participation. As strong as those
forces are, they are partially offset by other factors pushing in the
opposite direction. Some managers have difficulty adjusting to their
new roles in a high-involvement system. They may still cling to Theory
X beliefs and assumptions, they may fear losing their former status as
key decision makers, or they may be concerned they will have less
power and control than previously. To a large degree, these are
perceptual sources of resistance but still very real factors.
A New Role for Managers
In order for participative programs to work best, managers need to start
relinquishing their roles of judge and critic and begin viewing themselves as
partners with employees. They still need to communicate a direction for
their unit, help set challenging goals, and monitor resources. But their
new role invites them to view themselves as stewards (caretakers,
guardians, and developers) of a broad range of hum …
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