Employee Participation in Decision Making and Organizational Commitment

Employee Participation in Decision Making and Organizational Commitment

THE CONCEPT OF EMPLOYEE PARTICIPATION – Employee participation in decision making has been the subject matters of a lot of studies which has found it to be a strong correlate of organizational commitment.  Conceptual definition of employee participation is necessary.  According to Davis (1981), employee participation refers to mental and emotional involvement of persons in a group with situations that encourage them to contribute to goals and share responsibility for them.  He stated three ideas in the definition namely “mental and emotional involvement” by which employee try and know the reasonableness and favourableness of decisions being made in terms of personal and organizational needs.

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“Motivation to contribute” which encourage employees to supply their suggestions towards making effective decisions and acceptance of responsibility so that the employee speaks of the organization as “we” and not “they” and appreciation of team work which is the only means for them to get done the job for which they feel responsible.

Davis further stated that participation restores to people at work, their right to be contributing members of the groups in which they work and serve the our needs of Maslow’s hierarchy theory thus, building workers who are satisfied security wise, social physiologically and potentially.  He suggested several programmes for participation consultative management committees, namely consultative management, democratic management, work committees, suggested programmes, middle management committees, industrial democracy which is implemented through work councils and co-determination and management by objective (MBO).  Finally, he highlighted some limitation to participation.  Employee may lack relevant knowledge in their area of problem, they show dissatisfaction and lower productivity, if their suggestions are rejected and they are expected to be consulted in every issue and become uncooperative and when not consulted.  It was his observation that supervisors oppose the erosion of their authority through participation, which gives employees more autonomy and responsibility.  Moreover, there are fears of labour union, that long-term outcomes sought by labour leaders who have to consider for annual re-elections and that their participation weakens their moral justification to object to decision as their members might have participated in making them.

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          Several works reviewed by researchers recognize as a central issue facing managers in carrying out their responsibilities to the extent to which they should allow their subordinate take part in decision affecting their job and themselves of the organization. A few of the seven questions concerning the nature of a decision problem.  The leadership styles include autocratic management, benevolent management, consultative management, participative management-often referred to as democratic management.

Apart from the nature of the decision problem, other determinants of degree of participation are employees knowledge on skills and needs for participation.  Conway (1981) for instance, found that some employees desire greater participation than others.  So participation is most effective when it is reasonably marches employee needs and that over population or under participation would lead to reduce satisfaction and performance.  It was also found that their employee desiring greater participation in decision making experience greater dissatisfaction than others.

Davis (1981) in his own contribution postulates that the prerequisites for participation as follows:

(i)                            Potential benefits greater than cost.

(ii)                         Adequate employee abilities to deal with subject

(iii)                       Adequate time to participate.

(iv)                       Mutual ability to communicate and

(v)                         Relevance to employee interest.  Others include no feelings of threat to either party and area of job freedom.


          Absolute commitment to the goals of an organization is on condition which managers untiringly press for but they usually fail to understand it and its antecedents fully.  Organizational commitment has been adversely defined by various writers but steers definition appears most comprehensive and suitable to need of such researchers in this study.  Organizational commitment, is the relative strength of an individual involvement in an identification with a particular organization. He further characterized the organizational commitment by at least three factors namely;

(a)              A willingness to exert considerable effort on behalf of the organization.

(b)             A strong desire to maintain membership in the organization and

(c)              A strong belief in an acceptance of the organizational goals and values.


Writers on this behaviour hold the view that the organizational commitment does just not occur and end in itself.  They said that there are the antecedents and the outcome of the organizational commitment and which the researcher refers to as “correlates of organizational commitment first, is a set of job related characteristics comprising enrich jobs, amount of feed-back on job performance and lack of role conflict and ambiguity-secondly, is a group or structural characteristic like decentralization and worker owned of work comparatives. Thirdly, is a collection of work experience such as group attitudes toward the organization, organizational dependability, perceive personal importance to the organization and the extent to which personal expectation are not which forth is a set of personal characteristics such as age, tenure and education which he believes has in verse relationship with commitment. The underlying element of this antecedent variable is the notation of exchange.

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Steer (1984) also position the positive outcome of correlates of organizational commitment as absenteeism, job performance are turn over while negative counterparts are career advancement that could be attained outside the organization and employee mobility, employee neglect of his family life and employee reluctance to criticize his organization even when his need to do so is obvious.  The rest of the negative outcomes of organization include reduced opportunity of advancement within the organization and fewer opportunities of bringing in new employees with new ideas.

Hcebinial and Alutto (1972) found that workers becomes more committed to the organization if what they get from their work situation is more than what their work gets of them and also that education is negatively related to commitment.

Manner and Marsh (1982) observed that commitment is positively related to seniority, job prestige earnings, enhance of promotions and status, which according to them, many influence job challenge and job achievement.

Salancik (1979) in his own, found input fact that responsibility is also positively related to commitment.  Responsibility is positively influenced by feedback on job performance, high status and work integration while it is negatively influenced by supervision and money.

In his credit survey, Brown tended to play down on instrument factors such as money, seniority and better working conditions because they are ordinary available in the organization.  He also found that employee participation decision was positively correlated identification with the organization. Implicit on all these relationships so far discussed is the fact that a more stable work force is the most significant outcome of increased organizational commitment.

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          In the analysis of the modern industry organization several approach has been adopted which can be broadly classified into “task oriented theory and human oriented theory”. Task oriented theory states that workers can only be motivated to greater productivity by using mainly economic rewards, autocratic management and close supervision. The task oriented theory has dis-satisfaction, low productivity high absenteeism, high turnover.  Participative management theory is one of the employee oriented theories.  They advocates that workers should be given opportunity to decide how to do their work. The outcome of this are psychological perspective in term of fulfilling employees reads, esteem responsibility, personal growth and self actualization.  It should be noted that giving employee opportunities to participate in decision making, it will do a lot of good to Nigeria.

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