How does the Worker’s Empowerment contributes to the Industrial Democracy

Question: How does the Worker’s Empowerment contributes to the Industrial Democracy? Explain various forms of Workers’ Participation in Management citing examples

Answer: One of the important requirements of industrial relation is industrial democracy. Worker’s participation in management (WPM) is essentially a step in promoting industrial democracy. This is the modem trend in industrial world both in developed and developing countries. This is a concept of extending democracy of political systems in government to the industries.

The form, structure and the content of WPM vary with social norms and nature of government in each country. WPM takes the shape of self- management, co-determination, worker director and joint management councils. Despite variation in interpretation, all agree that participation means sharing the decision making power between management and workers.

Participate may protect the interests of both parties. But more than this protection, participation is a system of checks and balances which prevents exploitations and provides equity and fairness. This requires great awareness, education and conceptual skill from both the parties, to make WPM, a success.

Industrial democracy through WPM achieves the following:

  • Performance of both groups is evaluated objectively.
  • Respect workers as free persons of equal value.
  • Rule of law and natural justice.
  • Discipline through self control and self direction
  • Morale, motivation and a sense of belongingness.
  • Productivity and high quality in work.
  • Better compensation.

The following are the levels of participation listed in hierarchical ascending order:

  • Informative Participation: This is merely information sharing of major aspects like product mix, productivity, balance sheet etc. Workers are not allowed close scrutiny of accounts.
  • Consultative participation: e workers are consulted on such aspects like welfare, work methods, safety programmes. Worker’s body or joint councils can make recommendation. It is left to management to accept the recommendations or not.
  • Associative Participation: Here, the consultation is extended to more areas. In addition, management has a moral responsibility to implement recommendation made by joint councils
  • Administrative Participation: Here, management having accepted the recommendations of joint councils refers alternatives of implementation plans or strategies for the consideration of the councils to suggest the best one. Here authority of decision making is delegated.
  • Decisive Participation: Here decisions are taken jointly by management and workers on all important matter concerning the firm. Here both are equally responsible and accountable for the success or failure based on such decision. This, in a true sense, is the sharing of “profits” and “pains”.

A number of analysis have shown that significant changes of human behaviour is possible rapidly if persons who are expected to change are allowed to decide “what” and “how” about such changes.