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date: 13 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The approach of this article is to look at participation against the canvas of the employment relationship, its organization, core processes, and their outcomes for organizational performance and social well-being. The article starts with a brief historical overview of developments over the past forty years because it is useful to set theories in their wider historical context: why people posed the questions they did at a particular time. It then reviews a selection of the major theoretical approaches that illustrate the broad tent which encompasses the ‘economic approach’. The article considers the diffusion and the ecology of participatory practices and how these have been interpreted. Next, it presents a partial survey of recent quantitative work on the performance effects of participatory practices updating that of Levine and Tyson. Finally, the article examines some of the conceptual problems posed by these studies.

Keywords: participation, employment relationship, organizational performance, social well-being, participatory practices

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