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Handbook for Strategic HR by OD Network

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CHAPTER 42

A Brief and Provocative History of Participation

Edgar H. Schein

PARTICIPATION IS ONE of these wonderful abstractions that seems to mean something “good,” yet it is very hard to define in a practical context. For many managers it means to give away some of their power to their employees, only to discover that the employees then actually want to exercise power, something that the manager had not actually bargained for or anticipated. For other managers it means telling employees what is going on, asking if there are any questions, and if none arise in 5 seconds, assuming that they have now provided their employees a chance to participate. Having had that chance they should now obey like good soldiers. For still others it is the key ...

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