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Employee Involvement and Participation in Capgemini UK plc: A Critical Review

1. Introduction

This paper will critically review the involvement and participation management strategy of Capgemini UK plc. The purpose of this review is to identify the issues of involvement and participation by management of the company. In order to achieve this, the paper is organised as follows: Section 2 provides an overview of employee involvement and participation; Section 3 reviews theories of employee involvement and participation; Section 4 analyses empirical evidence of employee involvement and participation, with a focus on Capgemini UK plc; and Section 5 critically evaluates employee involvement and participation in Capgemini UK plc. The paper concludes in Section 6.

2. Employee involvement and participation

Employee involvement has been defined as “a process whereby employees are given the opportunity to influence decisions which affect their work” (Blyton and Turnbull, 2004, p. 4). Participation, on the other hand, has been defined as “employees sharing or having a say in decisions which affect them at work” (ibid.). Participation can therefore be seen as a subset of employee involvement, whereby employees are given the opportunity to share their views on work-related matters, but do not have the power to influence decision-making.

There are various forms of employee involvement and participation, which can be broadly categorised into two types: direct and indirect (Blyton and Turnbull, 2004). Direct forms involve employees being involved in decision-making processes, such as being represented on committees or taking part in work groups. Indirect forms involve employees providing input into decisions made by managers, such as through opinion surveys or focus groups. In practice, most organisations use a mix of both direct and indirect forms of employee involvement and participation (ibid.).

The concept of employee involvement and participation has its roots in the human relations approach to management (Guest, 1987; Blyton and Turnbull, 2004). This approach emphasises the importance of good relationships between management and workers in order to improve motivation and productivity. One of the key ideas of this approach is that employees are more likely to be motivated if they feel that they are involved in and have a say over decisions which affect them at work. This theory was developed further by Elton Mayo, who conducted the famous Hawthorne studies (Mayo, 1933). These studies found that workers were more productive when they felt that they were being listened to and their opinions taken into account by management. As a result of these findings, Mayo concluded that manager-worker relations were crucial for productivity, and that employees needed to be involved in decision-making processes in order for these relations to be improved.

The links between employee involvement/participation and improved worker motivation/productivity have been supported by empirical evidence from a number of studies (see Blyton and Turnbull, 2004 for a review). For example, a study by Guest et al. (1986) found that workers who were involved in consultative forums with management reported higher levels of job satisfaction than those who were not involved. Similarly, another study by Lawler (1992) found that workers who had more input into decisions affecting them at work were more satisfied with their jobs than those who had less input. These studies suggest that there are positive outcomes for both workers and organisations when employees are involved in decision-making processes.

3. Theories of employee involvement and participation

There are several theories which attempt to explain why employee involvement and participation leads to improved worker motivation and productivity. Perhaps the most well-known theory is the human relations approach, which was described in the previous section. This theory emphasises the importance of good relationships between management and workers, and suggests that employees need to be involved in decision-making processes in order for these relations to be improved.

Another theory which explains the link between employee involvement/participation and improved worker motivation/productivity is self-determination theory (Deci and Ryan, 1985). This theory suggests that employees are motivated to work hard when they feel that they are in control of their work and are able to make decisions about how they do their job. This theory therefore provides a different explanation for the findings of the Hawthorne studies – rather than suggesting that workers are motivated by good manager-worker relations, it suggests that workers are motivated by feeling that they are in control of their work.

A third theory which explains the link between employee involvement/participation and improved worker motivation/productivity is social exchange theory (Blau, 1964). This theory suggests that employees exchange their labour for rewards from their employer, such as pay and job security. The theory therefore argues that employees are more likely to work hard when they feel that they are being rewarded fairly for their labour. This theory provides a different explanation for the findings of the Hawthorne studies – rather than suggesting that workers are motivated by good manager-worker relations or by feeling in control of their work, it suggests that workers are motivated by feeling that they are being rewarded fairly.

4. Empirical evidence of employee involvement and participation

There is a growing body of empirical evidence which supports the links between employee involvement/participation and improved worker motivation/productivity. For example, a study by Guest et al. (1986) found that workers who were involved in consultative forums with management reported higher levels of job satisfaction than those who were not involved. Similarly, another study by Lawler (1992) found that workers who had more input into decisions affecting them at work were more satisfied with their jobs than those who had less input. These studies suggest that there are positive outcomes for both workers and organisations when employees are involved in decision-making processes.

There is also evidence to suggest that employee involvement and participation can lead to improved productivity. For example, a study by Freeman and Hannan (1984) found that unionised firms in the United States were more productive than non-unionised firms. This study suggested that unions improve productivity by giving employees a greater say in decisions which affect them at work. Similarly, another study by Bellemare et al. (2000) found that Canadian firms which introduced employee involvement programmes experienced increases in productivity following the introduction of these programmes. This study provides further evidence to support the links between employee involvement/participation and improved worker motivation/productivity.

5 Critical evaluation of employee involvement and participation in Capgemini UK plc
Capgemini UK plc is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company. The company has approximately 180,000 employees worldwide, with around 8,500 employees based in the UK (“Capgemini”, 2013). The company has a strong commitment to employee engagement, and has been recognised as an “Employer of Choice” by a number of leading publications (ibid.). In this section, I will critically evaluate the employee involvement and participation strategy of Capgemini UK plc.

The company has a number of initiatives in place to ensure that employees are involved in decision-making processes. For example, the company has an “Employee Engagement & Development” committee, which is responsible for ensuring that employees have the opportunity to feedback their views on company strategy and initiatives (“Capgemini”, 2013). The company also has a “Global Employee Advisory Board”, which is made up of representatives from all of the company’s major geographical regions (ibid.). This board meets regularly to discuss employee issues and provides feedback to the company’s senior management team (ibid.).

In addition to these formal mechanisms for employee involvement and participation, the company also encourages informal forms of involvement and participation. For example, the company has a “suggestion scheme” which allows employees to submit their ideas on how the company could be improved (“Capgemini”, 2013). The company also encourages employees to get involved in “town hall meetings” and “employee forums”, which provide opportunities for employees to feedback their views on company strategy and initiatives (ibid.).

Overall, I believe that Capgemini UK plc has a strong commitment to employee involvement and participation. The company has a number of initiatives in place to ensure that employees are involved in decision-making processes, and these initiatives appear to be having a positive impact on employee motivation and productivity.

6. Conclusion

In this paper, I have critically reviewed the involvement and participation management strategy of Capgemini UK plc. I have identified the issues of involvement and participation by management of the company. I have also reviewed theories of employee involvement and participation, and analysed empirical evidence of employee involvement and participation. I have critically evaluated employee involvement and participation in Capgemini UK plc, and concluded that the company has a strong commitment to employee involvement and participation.

FAQ

The benefits of involving and engaging employees in the decision-making process include increased employee motivation, commitment, and satisfaction; improved communication and collaboration among employees; and enhanced organizational creativity and innovation.

Capgemini UK ensures that employees feel involved and engaged in their work through a variety of methods, including regular communications from senior management on company strategy and performance, opportunities for employee input on decisions affecting their work, training and development programs to help employees improve their skills, and recognition and reward programs that acknowledge employee contributions.

Some challenges that Capgemini UK may face when implementing a participative management style include resistance from employees who are used to a more hierarchical structure, difficulty getting everyone's input due to time constraints, and the need for ongoing training for managers to ensure they are using the best practices for facilitating participation.

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