Workers’ Participation In Decision Making And Productivity

Project and Seminar material for Public Administration

Project and Seminar material for Public Administration


This study attempted to find out the impact of Worker’s Participation in Decision Making and Productivity in Shomolu Local Government Area of Lagos State.

The sample consisted of collected and analysis of data which was carried out at the council, through the use of Primary and Secondary data sources. The objective have made us to find out if the involvement of worker’s in decision making in Shomolu local government, has affected the productivity positively. That is not to say that there are no shortcoming, because some of the employees feels that their involvement in decision making is not only issue affecting productivity in the organization.

In order wards base on the findings, there are some recommendation that were made; That there should be increment in salaries and better conditions of worker’s and equality between the superior and subordinates. Again there should be balance and sharing of ideas on how the organization can best be managed between management and workers.

Chapter One


1.1 Background To The Study

The entrepreneur, as a factor of production is said to possess capital and other factors of production for effective utilization. Infact, the factor which puts a crown on the head of the entrepreneur is his possession or ownership of capital. It is this ownership that makes the entrepreneur the chief organizer of the organization.

As a result of this ownership of capital, he therefore enjoys the monopoly of the right to “management prerogative”. That is, the right to manager an organization to the whims and caprices of the owner the right to decide what kind of business to embark upon, the right to decide the location, the right to decide who to employ and the right to establish managerial philosophies, mission, policies, programmes and procedure.

The ultimate goal of an entrepreneur is to maximize profit from his investment. Labour (employees) and their unions on the other hand strive to benefit as much as possible from the profit which accrues to the entrepreneur (employer) upon their labour and as more and more profits that are made, the more the agitation on the part of the workers to have a share of the profit.

However, workers have thus stepped on their own that unless they (employees) participate in decision making, their future in the organization will only diminish and it might lead to low productivity. In the face of these, employees and organization have had to counter-balance the struggle so as not to put one side on a serious disadvantaged position. To do this, employees and their union need to pressurize the management to democratize the workers place so that they can participate in management decision -making. After all, “management is a process of subordinate relationships which involves setting goals and striving to achieve those goals” through the same subordinates (Drucker, 1954). Thus, workers participation in management decision ­making is as old as trade unionism and trade agitation for better conditions of living (as old as 19th century). To that extent, the level of production or productivity depends on the level of participation of workers (employees) in decision-making in an organization. Due to this experiment, the level of participation of employees in decision ­making is almost a matter of convention as well as legality.

In Australia, the Federal government set up in June 1978 a tripartite committee of experts to advice on participation as a means of allowing workers and employers to work out their own arrangements.

In Japan, various studies, publications and experiments who a strong interest in workers participation in decision-making, saying it has led to high productivity. In Yugoslavia, which established since 1950 an elaborate system of self-management, workers participation in the solution of problems at the level of production or productivity. In Ireland the focus on employee participation and involvement has been sharpened by positive government policies and initiative.

In 1977 ‘the worker participation (state enterprise) Act’ was enacted laying down procedures for the election of employees to the board of seven major commercial state enterprises.

It is important to state that in the field of participation, change is constant and often rapid. The word “participation” itself, therefore covers very different situations, interpreted differently by different categories of people in different times. Participation according to dictionary, “it to take part in or become involved in an activity or event. It is also good to note that, there are various factors that inf1uence employee productivity: ability, lack of technological know-how or skill, lack of physiological drive, managerial ability and attitude and technology employed.

Having said all these so far, the main message is that the factors involved in motivating employees (workers) for higher productivity is numerous, but we should focus on the participation of workers in decision-making as a measure for higher productivity. The objective of this study is to examine the extent to which Shomolu Local Government Area, Lagos State employees (workers) participate in decision-making.

1.2 Statement Of The Problem

Give the management have carved for themselves the absolute right to enjoy the prerogative of the ownership of capital, and given that workers have through their unions constitute themselves into powerful “pressure group” to counter-balance the overbearing power of capital. The problem is, “to what extent have workers participation in decision been able to increase productivity?

Nevertheless, this study believes that there is rarely any human or organizational level without its share of productivity problem and this problem is mainly attributed to workers participation in decision that affect their well-being. It is true that since the recessionary period, the economy has not it any iota of way gained some improvement, and the problems which investors, employers and management have had to content with have been inflicted on the workers more than anyone else. Thus, the central problem which the researchers seeks’ to investigate is to ascertain the extent to which both parties have been able to impact on each other in the period of recession.

1.3 Objectives Of The Study

Obviously, the industrial organization like states in the global system are speaking and pressurizing for the democratization of the work place. Thus, management in work organization have tended to support some strategies at democratizing the work place through “Employees” participation in management as a result of productivity. The objectives of this study among other things are:

  1. To ascertain whether worker’s participation in management actually exist.
  2. If it exists, to ascertain what extent has employees really participated in management in an organization.
  3. To examine the mechanisms, if any, which both management and the government have put on ground to allow workers participation in management.
  4. To ascertain whether worker’s participation indecision making has made any meaningful impact in productivity.
  5. To find solution to the problem of productivity in relation to workers participation in decision-making.

1.4 Statement Of Research Questions

The tentative research questions are as follows:-

Is there any relationship between worker’s participation in decision-making between worker’s participation indecision-making and productivity?

  1. Does workers participation in decision making have any effect on productivity?
  2. What is the prospect of management decision-making in Nigeria?
  3. To what extent does workers actually participate in management?

1.5 Statement Of Research Hypotheses

A hypothesis is a tentative statement that is subject to verification. Aghayere and Ojo (1997) posits that hypothesis is a statement of possible relationship between variable in form situation for empirical test; and usually expressed in both dependent and independent variables. Thus, in order to validate or invalidate this research project, the under listed hypothesis will be verified,

  1. Ho: Employees participation in management decision-making has increase workers productivity.
    Hi: Worker’s participation in management decision making does not exist and does not affect productivity.
  2. Ho: There is no relationship between worker’s decision-making and productivity.
    Hi: There is relationship between worker’s decision making and the level of productivity.
  3. Ho: The level of worker’s productivity will not be determined by the involvement of workers in management decision-making.
    Hi: The level of worker’s productivity will be determined by the involvement of workers in management decision making.

1.6 Theoretical Framework

The theories often cited as providing supportive framework for workers participation in management decision-making are the Human Relation model, theory U, as well as the industrial democracy theory.

The human relations school as propounded by Elton Mayo et all. Sought the solution of how workers can be part of management by prescribing or arriving at a conclusion that management should regard the enterprises as a social system and develop informal organization by which workers would achieve a sense of belonging and high productivity. Workers to some extent, have found this answer in trade unionism and trade unions objectives which gave rise to the need to be part of management (Banjoko 1996).

Theory Y on the one hand has also prescribed management by objective (1970) which tries to share management work between higher and lower management through joint planning exercise to determine the overall organizational focus, objectives, programmes and procedures. Yet another theory which provides substances to workers’ participation in management decision-making is the industrial democracy theory. The industrial democracy theory was propounded by Sidney and Beatrice Webbs in 1987 in their book “Industrial Democracy”. According to the Webbs, the work place is characterized by conflict between owners of capital and those who sells their labour input to earn a living (the workers). Thus through the principle of rule of law and social justice which provides basis for labour-management relation.

The theorist content that since capital and the whole exercise of production cannot do without labour, even in the face of rising technological advancement, there is the need of workers of business to have a share in making decisions on the place where most of their lifetime experience is share.

1.7 Significance Of Study

The quest for democratizing the society and the economy has also led to the quest for democratizing the industrial sector. One way of achieving this is not only to allow workers to acquire some percentages of the share of their companies, but to allow workers to have a say in management decision making which will led to high productivity.

Thus, it is believed that they study will be significant in so far as:

  1. It is able to establish the level of workers participation in management
  2. In so far as it is able to establish whether such degree or level of participation is responsible for high level of production.
  3. It is able to identify the best way to make workers participate in management decision-making and seek their co-operation.
  4. It is able to establish the best way to encourage management to grant opportunities to workers involvement in organizational management.

1.8 Scope Of The Study

The study is intended to examine and evaluate the degree of worker’s participation in management decision-making in the public sector and its relationship to workers’ productivity. Since it was claimed that the government have done much to evolve strategies at democratizing the workplace, arguments have also cropped up as to what is the level or degree or workers participation in decision-making in response to workers’ productivity. This, this study is limited only to the evaluation of workers participation in Shomolu Local Government Area in terms of decision-making and productivity.

1.9 Limitation Of Study

There are various limitations to this study or research project, which include time factor, data collection, finance and materials. Time factors was one major limitation of this research due to the right office schedule. Data collection also posed another limitation to this research. A research of this nature requires huge financial commitment in order to move about extensively to gather sufficient research materials. In the case of ~his study, finance was a major constraint as a result, the research was restricted.

1.10 Literature Review

Literature Review of workers participation in decision-making is not only vast but only confine to a particular discipline.

According to Okeke (1985), literature review shows the summary of previous research works which are related to a researcher’s present study.

Topics to be reviewed; workers participation in decision-making in relation to workers’ productivity in the public sector researchers – Akpula (1987) in his study workers participation in management as a process in an enterprise.

Armstrong (1996) in his research among workers argued that workers participation in management decision making aviary according to the level it takes.

Theories of workers participation in management criterion of participation decision making. Berridge J. (1992) define communication as a process of transmitting information of interest to employees and employers.

In Germany – since (1952), workers participation in management decision-making has led to spontaneous increase in accountability and productivity.

In Nigeria, Obisi (1995) identified five variables which determine workers participation in management decision-making.

1.11 Methodology

The research methods to be adopted in this investigation are well-known research design procedures in social science inquiries.

Finally, the collection data will involve both primary and secondary data sources. Data collection is the process of assembling primary data and is different from the process of compiling ‘statistics (i.e secondary data) frompublished sources. To quote Crum, Patton and Tebbutt, “Collection means the assembling, for the purpose of a particular investigation, of entirely new data, not already available in published sources”.

Methods of collecting primary data are as follows:

  1. Direct personal interviews
  2. Indirect, oral interviews
  3. Information from correspondents
  4. Mailed questionnaire method
  5. Schedules send through enumerators

The administration of questionnaires and personal interview to the supervisors and managers of the Local government. The administration of the questionnaires will also be given to various workers so as to find out their own view.

Methods of collecting secondary data are as follows:- In most of the study, investigators finds it impracticable to collect firsthand information.

The sources of secondary data are divided into two: Published sources end unpublished sources.

  1. Published sources include; Report and Official publications, semi-official publication of various local bodies such as local government, and private publication e.g. financial and economic journals et.c.
  2. Unpublished sources: Unpublished data such as records as maintained by various government and private offices, studies made by research institutions, scholars e.t.c.

The data analysis procedure; the analysis of data will be done step-by-step basis using the simple percentile response procedure. Thus calculation are done to count which of the variables in the fable received greater response and acceptance to the subject participant who constitutes the respondents. Results of counting are tabulated and brief explanations given below each table to provide assumption for the weighted value of the response.

1.12 Definition / Clarification Of Terms

a. Labour / Staff / Employee / Worker:

They all refer to officers chiefly responsible for internal execution of an institution or business (webster’s ninth collegiate dictionary, 1983)

b. Compensation / Remuneration

This refers to as the assessed reward to an employee for his contributions to the organization in the achievement of its goals.

c. Salary / Wage:

Fixed compensation paid regularly for services rendered. (webster’s Ninth collegiate Dictionary, 1983)

d. Administration:

The activities that are done in order to plan, organize and run a business, school or other institution. (Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary 6th edition).

e. Employee Involvement:

A range of processes designed to engage the support, understanding and optimum contribution of all employees in an organization and their commitment to its objectives,

f. Employee Participation:

A process of employee involvement designed to provide employees with the opportunity to influence and, where appropriate, take part in decision making on matters which affect them.

g. Direct Participation:

Structured methods which provide opportunity for each employee to influence or contribute to the decisions on the task he or she is performing and on its relationship to the organizational structure.

h. Joint regulation:

A process whereby management and employees arrive at agreed decisions. The most common form of joint regulation in this country is collective bargaining.

i. Trade Union

Any combination or workers or employers, whether temporary or permanent, the purpose of which is to regulate the terms and conditions of employments of workers. (Nigeria’s Trade Union act; (1975)

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