Academic journal article Monthly Labor Review

Employee Participation, Work Reorganization, and Job Design

Academic journal article Monthly Labor Review

Employee Participation, Work Reorganization, and Job Design

Article excerpt

Rosemary Batt and Eileen Appelbaum investigate work restructuring programs across different industries, occupations, and work settings in the British Journal of Industrial Relations (September 1995). The authors' major interest is on whether different forms of employee participation affect employee attitudes, commitment, and perception of work performance. They focus on two types of employee participation: off-the-job or "off-line" problem-solving groups with management and "on-line" participation in which employees themselves make decisions on tasks or quality control on-the-job.

While most of the research on high performance work practices concentrates on firm outcomes, Batt and Appelbaum review the sparse literature on outcomes for employees. The results are mixed. They cite some studies finding on-line employee participation has a positive effect on work attitudes, organizational commitment, and job satisfaction, and others that report weak or even negative, links. On balance, the authors suggest that work reorganization in the form of on-line teams has a positive impact on attitudes, commitment, and satisfaction, dependent upon the characteristics of the redesigned jobs of team members or team membership. Few studies are cited on the effects of off-line team membership, and Batt and Appelbaum speculate that it may increase commitment, but have less effect on job satisfaction. …

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