Based on contemporary research, here’s what impact each of the four consultants’ approaches would have on productivity:
- The first consultant recommended that the organization redesign its jobs to be more complex, challenging and interesting. Research suggests that would probably increase productivity by 9 percent.
- The second consultant proposed a program of formal goal setting throughout the organization. Research indicates this course would probably increase productivity by 16 percent.
- The third consultant proposed launching a contingent payment program so that each employee was compensated proportionately to his or her performance. Research indicates this course would probably increase productivity by 30 percent.
- The fourth consultant proposed setting up a formal program of participatory decision making throughout the organization. Research indicates this course would probably not increase productivity at all by itself.
Does that mean that participatory decision making is a bad or useless thing? No. As the authors explain: “Surprisingly, participation usually has no effect on productivity problems caused by motivation. Despite the fourth consultant’s suggestion, employee participation is likely to improve motivation and performance only when combined with one or more of the other three alternatives.” (Organizational Behavior: Securing Competitive Advantage, 5th ed., Wagner & Hollenbeck, p. 5)
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