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An Analysis of employee involvement on American Water Company - Essay Example

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Summary
Employee involvement or participation is an important area of research in the industrial relations field. As practiced in many organizations, employee involvement is not a goal nor is it a tool. It is a leadership and management philosophy about how employees are most enabled to contribute as they participate to constant improvement and the continuing success of their work organization…
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An Analysis of employee involvement on American Water Company

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Staw & Ross stated that employees know better what is expected of them, and they commit better on the organization’s decision (1978). [Employee]Participation may lower the disutility of effort, by providing intrinsic motivation (Staw, 1980). Also, participation may suit non-financial needs such as achievement, creativity and the longing for respect. This may also develop cooperation and communication; employees discuss with each other instead of allowing all discussions only to the management, saving management time. When employees are participative, they tend to supervise themselves, therefore reducing the need for a lot of managerial positions and lessening costs of labor. Involvement teaches employees new skills and helps identify and train leaders. Strauss emphasized that “participation increases loyalty and identification with the organization”. He also argued that “If participation and rewards take place in a group setting, the group may pressure individuals to conform to decisions” (1977).When management leaders and union participate cooperatively to resolve problems on a non adversarial basis; it improves union management relationship. Involvement often results in the setting of goals and according to Latham, Gary “goal setting is often an effective motivational technique, particularly when workers set their own goals (1988).

Disadvantages of Employee Involvement
However, employee involvement had been evaluated as disadvantageous in some ways. Among the disadvantages cited are: Employees may be less knowledgeable than managers, and the understanding upon the decisions they made may be different. Aside from this, Jensen and William stated that "the rewards motivating workers to share their ideas may be larger than the value of the ideas themselves" (1979). Employees may be unenthusiastic to change, once they commit to a decision. Employee Involvement is time consuming, and if the groups decided, response to changing environments may be mainly slow. Another concern is the possibility that when a precedent of employee involvement is established, it is difficult to withdraw this right to participate. Organized, participative groups may unite against the management to limit production and avoid change. Sharing information with unions raises their bargaining power, so companies may lose. If the management and union are unified, working together with management may lower unions' legitimacy with members. Goals employees set for themselves may be low.
In order to better understand employee involvement, it is better if we take a closer look on an organization that allows/promotes employee involvement. One of these organizations is "American Water".

Employee Involvement in American Water Company
As cited in the World Wide Web American Water Works & Guarantee Company was founded in 1886 and was restructured in 1947 as American Water Works Company, Inc., and locally operates in New Jersey. Its major mission is to become a trusted water resource company dedicated to ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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