ISSUE 104 SEPTEMBER 2007 CONTENTS HOME PAGE
CHILD & YOUTH CARE ADMINISTRATION
Participatory management: some thoughts
Human Service managers working in child care agencies often make use of input from service delivery staff to make or modify decisions on agency policy, client behavioral management and organizational procedures. This form of leadership, called participatory management (PM), is well known and successfully employed in many non profit and profit making organizations.
I thought it might be useful to our readers who are often at the receiving end of various management models including PM to look at a definition of PM, learn some of its advantages, and see how it is typically used in agencies (and also how it unfortunately is misused).
First — what is PM?
What are some benefits of PM?
Another obvious benefit is the potential to improve the quality of decisions. The staff often know better than managers the day-to-day reality of delivering services to troubled kids, and if they are asked about a management idea they can help fine tune it — or even indicate its limitations.
A further payoff of PM is its potential to help managers to better understand the culture of the work force ,which can also lead to better decisions.
Arguably most important — PM as a management approach, creates conditions which help workers feel like adults who are trusted and respected, and who are wanting to help improve the organization — an important component needed to enhance the performance and morale of staff.
How is PM used?
Another and quite different mode of PM is when worker representatives sit in on Board meetings as voting members. (This is sometimes seen in France and Germany). A different model of PM is seen when workers/staff actually own the organization and make decisions collectively (some interesting examples occur in Spain and in different parts of the states).
One downside of PM
More on this and other aspects of PM in my next