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EMPLOYEE PARTICIPATION IN DECISION MAKING AND ITS IMPACT ON PRODUCTIVITY

Project Topic: Employee Participation in Decision Making and its Impact on Productivity: An Appraisal of Government Printing Press and Two other Private Publishing Firms in Enugu


CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1     BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

Over the years, the practice of organizational management demanded that employer/management would expect that workers will do the work that is set before them.  While this was a perfectly typical method of getting results through others in the early days of assembly line and scientific management, it is no longer true of today’s business. The trend has changed in that management expects more from its workers than doing simply what is put before them. It has also changed in that workers expect that more can be got from them by simply working according to the direction of the boss. However, with the rise of such theories as “participative management” and with increasing recognition those employees often have something valuable to contribute (beyond the accepted units of their normal job duties).  Many companies are now actively seeking ways of getting employees to participate more in decision affecting them.  The worker on the other hand expects to be asked how he feels about his job, and what his ideas are on how the work can be done more easily, better and faster.  The reason for this change in emphasis is that management has discovered that there are tangible business values in soliciting and using the ideas of people at all levels in the organization. As the main objective of every business organization is long-term survival and in addition to have a competitive advantage over and above its competitors rather than being like the biblical seeds that fell on the way side and perished. The secret of having this competitive advantage over others then lies on the productivity of the enterprise. The increase in productivity can only be achieved mainly through the organizational workforce.  Increase in work life and productivity in an enterprise starts with the mind.  It starts with the improvement of an individual self-esteem and self worth.  It starts with helping an employee develop a higher degree of self-regard. In tracing the background of this concept of employee participation in decision making, one can infer it to be a household name in many countries of the world. Japan’s success in the business world is attributed to employee participation. Decision making is shared at all levels of management. It is observed that decision making in Japanese firms are focused on defining questions or issues rather than on finding solutions. Thus all levels of the organization are involved in this process. In the United States, industrial democracy is practiced, employees are encouraged to buy shares in companies thereby enabling them to have a say in the management of their organization. In other developed countries like Britain, Yugoslavia and Germany, participatory management is popular. In Britain and Yugoslavia, it is known as joint consultation and self management respectively while in Germany, it is known as co-determination. In Nigeria, participatory management has come a long way. The Nigeria Military Government in 1977 decided to democratize industrial ownership in Nigeria by promulgating the Nigerian indigenization decree part of which provides “that 10 percent total equity share of any enterprise on schedule, 2 and 3 should be reserved for workers”. This is to ensure that workers have a sense of belonging in their respective organizations.  Both the state and Federal government of Nigeria have in the past involved its citizenry in the management of affairs of the state. Ejiofor and Aniagor (1984) stated that the state represents both enterprise and workers and other social and economic institutions. Based on this argument, the researcher sees the state as representing management while the citizenry represent workers. Everybody is working for the state because everything you do, be in the private or public sector, is contributing to the national development. It is in recognition of the significance of participation that the federal military government of Nigeria sometime invited the entire citizenry to participate in deciding whether Nigeria should accept the IMF loan or not.  After a heated debate by “well meaning” Nigerians, the idea was cancelled. Apart from the Federal and State government being aware of the need to involve citizens in the management of affairs of the state, many companies in Nigeria mostly the multinationals are practicing participative management A.G. Leventis, United African Company (UAC), United Trading Company and John Holt call it consultation committee.  Suggestion boxes and House journals are means through which employees are represented on the Board of Nigeria Ports Authority. Despite these evidences of the existence of participative management in the Nigerians industrial set up, some people in other countries and some Nigerians are of the view that real participatory management does not exist and cannot exist due to under development, inexperience in democratic process, political instability and economic instability caused by frequent changes in economic policy by the federal government. Participative decision making can be well practiced only in a stable economic environment because of its time consuming nature and investment in training to enable workers have a contributing capacity. Also the negative attitude of the Nigerian worker to work does not encourage participatory management. They are more interested in what they will get from the employer in terms of salaries and other employment benefit and not the job itself.  Such attitudes definitely cannot give rise to effective participation. Ukandu Damachi (1990) is of the view that participative decision making can be possible in a certain sector of the economy and not in all government owned enterprises and Parastatal because of the government intention to mobilize popular support for development purposes. He goes further to say that workers participation in the multinational companies, on the other hand has at best remained elusive. Most of these companies are controlled by and depend on their parent bodies abroad for policies and decision. Among the indigenous employers, particularly the small and medium sized organization, their attitude to workers is paternalistic and authoritarians. Their activities are often shrouded on secrecy. They are suspicious of the workers and therefore cannot afford to share information and decision with them. We have experiences of some managers that fail to delegate, as they do not go on leaves, where some go, they are on working leave; still attending work, some while on leave lock up certain jobs/documents in their drawers, thus making such pending till they resume, whereas participative management involves nothing more than sharing information with subordinates.

In the light of the above, Government Press and some selected Private Publishing firms in Enugu being among the organizations in Nigeria that practice participative management will be examined to show whether the organization practice real participation. Managerial problems which require decision making in the company will be identified to show the extent employees are allowed to participate, the effects of participation on overall productivity and problems encountered in the participative management.

1.2    STATEMENT OF PROBLEM.

The issue of whether participative decision making exists in the Nigerian industrial set-up is very controversial.  Some companies in Nigeria practice participative decision making and the government has in the past encouraged participative decision making through legislation. On the contrary, some management writers in Nigeria are of the opinion that it does not exist and where it does it is not real.  Their reason is that the necessary prerequisite conditions encourage participation in Nigeria are not available. However, research into leadership style has exposed employee’s desire for involvement in decision making in their various organizations. Employees are at the same time important elements of the accomplishment of the organizational goals, and thus organizational survival.  The reason basically rests on the fact that employees are operators and are in better position to  know the problems they encounter in doing a particular task and how best to solve them. The problem mainly lies on the fact that employee’s participation though obtained has not been clearly understood as well as its benefits.  Some of the managers feel that the decision making process is their sole prerogative and as such should be protected. Again top management likes to remain aloof from its employee as to build an all important air around themselves. In the light of the above, this study therefore is set to determine the extent of practice of participative decision making in government Press and few other firms and its influence on productivity as well as ascertaining the benefits and problems arising from such practice.

1.3     OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY

Specifically, the researcher intends to;

  • Examine the perception of workers towards participative management policy in an enterprise.
  • Ascertain the level of workers participation in decision making of the organizations.
  • The type of decisions employees are involved in.
  • Verify if employee’s opinions are made use of after being collected.
  • Determine if participative management is considered a major factor for productivity by management.
  • Determine the problems encountered in the practice of participative decision making.

1.4     STATEMENT OF HYPOTHESIS

  1. Ho: Participative decision making does not involve participation at all levels of management.

          Hi:     Participative decision making involves participation at all levels of management.

  1. Ho: Productivity is not independent of employee’s participation in decision making.

          Hi:     Productivity is independent of employee’s participation in decision making.

  1. Ho: The investment effort on the practice of participative decision making does not reflect on increase in productivity.

          Hi:     The investment effort on the practice of participative decision making reflects in increase in productivity.

1.5     SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

This study is designed to provide information to the populace on how Government Press and other few selected firms have faired in their practice of participative decision making and its contributions to productivity, thereby enhancing organizational efficiency. It is expected that this study will be beneficial to the management by giving enough insight into the benefits of employee participation in decision making, make clear to managers what participative management stands for hence, reducing the fear often harbored by these managers.  Workers, students of business Administration and the society at large are equally the potential beneficiaries of this study. It is equally my hope that the study would provide a basis on which further research could be carried out.

1.6     SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY

This study is about participatory management.  The extent of employee participation, the effect on satisfaction and productivity of employees and the problems encountered in its practice will be examined. Government Press and a few other selected private publishing firms in Enugu will be the limit of this study.  This is due to limited time and finance being faced by the researcher.  And also unwillingness of some managers in using their organization for research.  Despite these limitations, the study will explore every necessary available information to attain its set objectives…

—This article is incomplete———–This article is incomplete———— It was extracted from a well articulated quality Project, Research Work/Material

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