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The difference between participation and power in Japanese factories

  • Robert M. Marsh
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    This examination of data on 48 Japanese manufacturing plants in 1983 suggests that, contrary to the belief of many Western observers, systems of participative decision making in Japan have not led to workplace democracy. Although the firms in this study allow workers to present ideas and suggestions-which can then, at supervisors' discretion, be embodied in formal proposals and passed to successively higher levels of the corporate hierarchy, receiving amendment as required for consensus-they deny workers the authority to make decisions. In general, as has been found in similar studies in other countries, strategic, non-programmed, organization-wide decisions tend to be made at high levels, whereas authority to make routine, programmed, sub-unit and individual-level decisions is delegated to lower hierarchical levels. (Abstract courtesy JSTOR.)

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    Article provided by ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School in its journal ILR Review.

    Volume (Year): 45 (1992)
    Issue (Month): 2 (January)
    Pages: 250-257

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    Handle: RePEc:ilr:articl:v:45:y:1992:i:2:p:250-257
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