Lessons at the Bottom: Worker Nonparticipation in Labor Management Committees as Situational Adjustment

Thomas A. Leitko, Arthur L. Greil, Steven Ames Peterson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Nonparticipation is the modal response of workers to worker participation schemes. Four case studies are analyzed to demonstrate how situational and role constraints in organizations make this the most practical adjustment. Organizational settings are viewed as socializing contexts that teach workers what is expected, what is valued, and what actually pays off. Lessons leading to nonparticipation include (1) “You're on the outside”; (2) “Don't look to work for satisfaction”; (3) “You don't know what's going on here”; (4) “You do what you're paid for”; and (5) “Participation costs.” The implications of this theoretical view for other forms of worker participation are outlined. Situational adjustment theory is argued to be a stronger explanation of organizational behavior than theories relying on “imported” values and needs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)285-305
Number of pages21
JournalWork and Occupations
Volume12
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1985

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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