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Costs and Benefits of Involving Employees in Decision Making - Essay Example

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Costs and Benefits of Involving Employees in Decision Making Businesses are complex entities that must make many different types of decision in order to function optimally. The role of employees in decision making has been growing as a scientific field of interest, as well as being applied in many corporations in recent years…
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Costs and Benefits of Involving Employees in Decision Making
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Download file to see previous pages This presents a wide range of both challenges and benefits, and involves a new way of thinking for many organisations. The level that employees are involved in decision making differs substantially between different organisations. In some cases, the aim is to give employees a voice, but no significant role in the process of decision making, while in other situations, employees have a substantial influence in the way that the organisation is managed and the decisions that are made . Within the European Union, the most common type of employee voice program that is being used is that of indirect voice. This involves the use of collective representation of employees such as through unions or similar structures . However, the involvement of unions continues to decrease worldwide, and employers are turning to other means to understand the desires of their employees. Although involving employees in decision making in a business gives many benefits, such as increased loyalty and efficiency, there are also associated costs. As a term, employee voice can be defined as the way in which employees can express their opinions in regards to decision-making, constructive ideas and work activities that result in change within the company that they are a part of . A more broad definition considers not only employee input in the area of decision making, but employees ‘speaking up’ in any circumstances . For the discussion that follows, the first definition given will be used. It is based on the idea of employees being able to have a ‘say’ in the operation of the company, to feel involved and to feel like their opinions are relevant to the company . In many ways, employee voice can be considered as allowing for a type of democracy to occur within the work place . Two key elements of this are employee involvement and participation. These two terms are treated as the same in many research papers on the topic; however, they have significantly different meanings. For employees to be involved in business decisions means that they are kept informed of what decisions are being made, the reasons for these decisions and they suggestions may be listened to. However, the employees generally have little power, and for the most part their decisions are ignored. In contrast, participation means that the employee has an active role in the business decisions, such as having an employee representative on the board or having employees being involved in focus group when major decisions are being made. In these circumstances, the employees have more power, and their opinions can result in actual change in the company. Traditionally unions have been considered a means of voicing the interests of the workers to their employers, particularly in terms of pay, rights and in the case of workplace disputes. Unions are prevalent across industries and countries and their influence can be disruptive to companies such as through strikes and other forms of collective action. Within Ireland, a study found that approximately half of all employers recognised a union within their workplace, and around 38% of employees were involved in a union. This differed significantly across sectors. In the private sector, less than one third of all employees were members of a union and only 44% of businesses recognised a union. In contrast, within the public sector, 91% of businesses had a union and more ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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