There are several beliefs on where participative management –also known as participatory management- originated. Participative management is a central idea in contemporary management. Most academic authors trace its origins to the post-World War II works of researchers such as Kurt Lewin, Douglas McGregor, Chris Argyris, H. Igor Ansoff, and Michael Porter (Kaufman, 2001).
Every workplace is unique; even when two companies work in the same field of work and produce the same outcome, no two companies will ever be the same because, in companies, employees reside. Furthermore, no employee will ever be identical to another employee, and therefore no leader will manage their work the same way as another leader. Hence, we have many management types that have been categorized into three main styles; autocratic, democratic, and laissez-faire.
The autocratic style is divided into three subcategories, authoritative management type, persuasive management type, and lastly, Paternalistic management type. In general, styles that fall under the category of the autocratic style tend to be the most imposing and least flexible. This is because the manager makes all workplace decisions, and they have complete control over any employee. In addition, Employees are viewed as pawns that must operate within well-defined boundaries while being continuously watched. Moreover, Employees are not urged, and in some cases deliberately discouraged, from asking questions, submitting ideas, or sharing their opinions on how to improve procedures.
On the other hand, the laissez-faire style is divided into two subtypes; the Visionary management style and the Delegative management style. This type of management tends to revolve around managers that describe their objectives and why they are essential to persuade their team to strive toward achieving their ideal goals.
Furthermore, the manager motivates the team, and then they are given the freedom to perform their responsibilities with little supervision. Managers will periodically check-in, but they are confident that their shared vision of the future will keep staff on track and deliver positive outcomes. Managers also provide a lot of positive input to their staff throughout and after the process, making sure to reward them generously.
And finally, our last main category is the democratic management style; here is where our topic at hand lies as it’s one of the subtypes of this style. The democratic management style is divided into five subcategories; Consultative management style, Participative management style, Collaborative management style, Transformational management style, and Coaching management style.
Now we will get further into detail about the specifics of participative management later on in the article. However, the general idea behind the democratic management style is that managers urge employees to participate in the decision-making process. However, the final choice is essentially their responsibility. Communication is essential in this type of management style as it improves team cohesion. This management style enables a wide range of perspectives, abilities, and ideas to be considered when making choices.
What is Participative Management?
Now that we briefly explained various management styles, let’s dive right into breaking down what participative management essentially is. Managers and employees are all actively involved in the decision-making process in this manner. Employees are provided more knowledge about the firm and its aims, and they are urged to come up with new ideas. Managers solicit employees’ views, ideas, and opinions. Moreover, managers collaborate with team members to help them make choices and then implement these decisions.
However, many different scholars have written more extensively about the origins and history of Participative Management, such as Carroll and Schuler (1983). They claimed that participatory management could be traced back to the early 1960s and the writings of behavioral scientists like Douglas McGregor and Rensis Likert.
Furthermore, according to Stanton (1993), the origins of Participative Management may be traced back to two behavioral scientists, Lester Coch and John F. Kennedy. Additionally, according to Stanton (1993), the beginnings of Participative Management may be traced back to two behavioral scientists, Lester Coch and John French, who published a paper in the late 1940s on organizational transformation (Kaufman, 2001). Finally, cotton’s participatory management approach was allegedly influenced by social scientist Kurt Lewin (1994).
Core factors present in participative management
Several factors come into play when deciding to follow the participative management approach. In the following few paragraphs, we will be tackling several vital factors you need to keep at the forefront of your mind to ensure that you are correctly leading your team using participative management. These characteristics should be present in the manager themselves and should be taught to the team members.
The first characteristic is one of the most vital skills you require as a participative manager and in participative management in general. Of course, any proficient leader should be able to communicate in their work correctly. However, in this case, communication is more important than you think. Participative management is built around the fact that team members and managers should share their collective ideas to come up with the best possible plan to ensure the company’s success.
This improves the efficiency of work as well as encourages creativity and growth in your employees. So if communication weren’t present, the workplace would be faced with several dilemmas that could’ve been quickly resolved if communication was present; these dilemmas include; a leader’s inability to communicate their thoughts; hence a leader wouldn’t be able to deliver their ideas, goals as well as any advice they have for the team members. Furthermore, team members and employees tend to follow in the footsteps of their leaders; therefore, by having a leader who lacks communication skills, the team members themselves won’t improve upon their skills. Hence, turning the workplace into a mess of scattered thoughts and incoherent ideas slows down the work process and produces terrible results.
Teammates will establish reciprocal trust by encouraging listening and understanding of challenges, which will improve the company’s operations and internal team growth.
Another critical aspect of participative management is motivating and encouraging employees to participate in company decision-making through participative management. When making decisions, the employee must demonstrate his engagement and motivation while defining norms and limitations.
Why is participative management beneficial in your workplace?
There are several reasons why you should implement participative management in your workplace. One of the main points is that employees are more engaged in their job since they may express and develop their ideas more fully. Moreover, they will also receive a great deal of feedback and direction on their activities. Another idea is that working groups have a greater level of motivation since this method of operation is built on the value of each employee’s job, and workers will go out of their way to be recognized.
Furthermore, Employee engagement is also higher since they will feel more connected to the firm due to the tasks they are assigned. As a consequence, there will be more collaboration and knowledge exchange across the teams. The firm will have an authentic, collaborative culture, which will have a beneficial influence on the company’s outcomes. And finally, Employees will have more autonomy, and they will be able to go further in their job without contacting their management. Because of this collaborative atmosphere, communication will be more straightforward. Employees will be less hesitant to offer fresh ideas to their coworkers and bosses.