University of Arkansas System
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
What is Participative Leadership?
Participative or democratic leadership is a managerial style that invites input from employees on all company decisions. Therefore the workers of KTJ Company Limited are included in all business activities and decision making. Consequently, they are given pertinent information regarding company issues, and a majority vote may sometimes determine the course of action the company will take. Thus the leader (John) maintains an egalitarian atmosphere within the business, that is, he believes in treating all people as deserving of respect and equal opportunities; however it doesn’t mean everyone has an equal say on final decisions. Managers who use this style are typically excellent communicators.
Subsequently, this style of leadership boosts the morality of its employees and is advantageous to the business’s productivity and efficiency. Basically, since employees are engaged and given a voice in the operations of the company, they will feel valued and believe that their role is more submissive and restricted; as a result the workers have more of a tendency to withdraw and focus on task completion and will feel personally liable for the success or failure of the entity.
Also, the staff morale remains at a high level because there is an appreciation for the chance to be part of the company’s decision-making process and so, employees will also take a more active role in improving the work conditions when they know that they can directly affect the policies that govern the workplace. Participative management gives employees the sense that they are also key stakeholders in the evolution of the business. Therefore at KTJ Company Limited the employees self- worth and work would tend to peak as they trust that the work they do has high value to the organization and its customers or clients.
A major advantage of participative leadership is Creativity. As a result of the encouragement and involvement of employees in the operations of the business, mainly decision-making, a variety of solutions are offered to combat problems or improve the state or productivity of the business, thus worker creativity can demonstrate abilities and talents that would not be made apparent otherwise and are used to develop more productive work processes that make the company more efficient through their participation in business activities. Because the involvement and creativity of workers is magnified, a given course of action can be approached from a variety of perceptions and this can often point out the strengths or weaknesses that would have gone unobserved and thus unresolved without the input of worker.
Although participative leadership has been described as the most effective leadership style, it does have drawbacks. Firstly, the slothfulness of decision making could be perceived as the main disadvantage of this style of leadership. Because of the increased participation of employees, resulting in the large input of ideas towards the operations of the company, the process of discussing/ interpreting employees ideas and the checking the accuracy along with the effectiveness of them towards the business’s productivity as well as its efficiency means that decision making will be slowed, in order to select the best and most suitable solutions or implementations. Therefore when John and his staff at KTJ Company Limited make decisions it must be extensive/ time- consuming process in order to reach a final decision or solution.
Another implication to the participative leadership style is the concern that employees may press for decisions which make their life easier but does not help the business. Although this disadvantage may be self-explanatory, essentially this means that when workers engage in the decision making process, they may see an opportunity to ease or reduce their workload by recommending and pushing forward certain decisions that wouldn’t result in the increase productivity or efficiency of the business, but satisfies them personally. This will however result the loss of progression and growth of the business. For example, if John the leader of KTJ Company Limited suggested that a new product be produced and employees would have double the workload in order to meet a specific time frame, the workers would press for additional staff to be hired to help with the workload although the new staff which could be expensive, it would benefit the employees since the workload would be less hence be shared among the new staff it would be costly for the business.
The table below shows the level of control or delegation between management and employees.
This style of leadership is greatly used in situations such as:
If john decides that the business is performing well and he wants to introduce a new product he would have to discuss it among his employees and note their opinions and therefore discuss the best method of making the product.
Oppositely, if the business is not performing to standard he would discuss the issues that he think is causing the problem and find out what the employees think in order to identify the best solution.
If he wanted to change something in the business, for example the uniforms or equipment such as switching from labour intensive production to mechanization to increase productivity, he would have to entirely discuss this with the staff/ workers before doing so to find out their views and opinions.