Participative management

Definition of participative management

Participative management can be defined as an approach to work management where decision-making and responsibilities are shared between managers and team members. Unlike the classic hierarchical structure, where decisions are taken centrally by the manager, the participative management style encourages the integration of employees into the decision-making process. It relies above all on communication and mutual trust.

Companies implement this type of work organization with the aim of improving performance and innovation, with the joint support of managers and their teams.

The 6 principles of participative management

  1. Employee mobilization and involvement: asking employees for their opinions puts them at the heart of projects, while consolidating their sense of belonging. As employees are equipped with collaboration tools, it can be easier to get them involved.
  2. Collective decision-making through idea-sharing: employees and managers use collective intelligence to share ideas and work together. The term collective intelligence refers to the ability of a group of people to work together to achieve results that go beyond the individual members, through the sharing of ideas and collective decision-making.
  3. Employee empowerment: employees are more involved in company decisions, which gives them new responsibilities. Managers can delegate certain tasks to their teams, which is a sign of trust.
  4. Skills development through training: training teams and developing their communication and organizational skills is a good opportunity for more effective participative management, but also for employee employability and careers.
  5. Work regulation: it is beneficial to set up performance indicators for employees and teams, such as acceptable margins of error in their tasks. They can also be guided by a self-assessment guide, which enables the quality of a product or service to be monitored and examined with different standards and verification stages. These indicators provide detailed instructions on the assessment methods and practices to be put in place in order to identify risks and manage them as effectively as possible.
  6. Problem and conflict management: as employees have more responsibility, communicate more and take the time to listen to each other, conflicts within teams can be greatly reduced. Employees will tend to resolve conflicts themselves, before bringing them to the attention of their manager or management.

The advantages and disadvantages of participative management

The advantages

Participative management offers many advantages. It fosters the development of autonomy among employees, reinforcing their motivation and commitment to the company. What's more, it can lead to better quality of work and greater productivity, as employees feel fully responsible for their actions and are more invested in the company's success. Overall, office life and the company's business are enhanced.


This type of participative management is not without its limits, and can take time to set up. It requires skills in communication, project management and the development of interpersonal relationships. To avoid taking too long to implement participative management, managers, employees and the company as a whole need to be trained in this type of management.

However, this practice may be less effective in situations where rapid decisions and directive leadership are required, for example in a crisis, hence the importance of training.

To sum up

Participative management is a work organization that encourages active involvement of employees in decision-making and management of company activities. It offers a number of advantages: greater motivation and productivity, and improved quality of work. For participative management to be effective, teams need to be trained in this approach.

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