Conceptualizing employee participation in organizations



Publication Details

Wilkinson, A., Gollan, P. J., Marchington, M. & Lewin, D. (2010). Conceptualizing employee participation in organizations. In A. Wilkinson, P. J. Gollan, M. Marchington & D. Lewin (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Participation in Organizations (pp. 3-25). Oxford: Oxford University Press.


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.

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