Employee involvement and the middle manager: evidence from a survey of organizations

Fenton-O'Creevy, Mark (1998). Employee involvement and the middle manager: evidence from a survey of organizations. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 19(1) pp. 67–84.


Although the literature on employee involvement suggests that some organizations experience significant benefits to employee attitudes and productivity, the results from individual studies vary widely. This study focuses on those factors that may mediate the success or failure of employee involvement practices, especially the role played by middle managers. A postal survey of 155 organizations examined the perceived outcomes of different employee involvement practices and the support or resistance attributed to middle managers. Hypothesized correlates of middle management resistance to employee involvement were examined. As hypothesized, positive outcomes of employee involvement were lower in organizations that experienced middle management resistance. The study supports the view that middle managers may resist employee involvement practices in response to threats to self interest (managerial job loss and delayering). However, lack of congruence between organizational systems and structures and the goals of EI and divided or unclear senior management support for EI were also found to be strongly related to middle management resistance.

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