High Involvement Management
High involvement management is a term coined by Ed Lawler for an approach to management centered on employee involvement. It entails providing employees with opportunities to make decisions about the conduct of their jobs and to participate in the business as a whole. Job-level involvement means increasing the decision making that people have in their work and is thus equivalent to work enrichment or role empowerment. Organization-level involvement, or empowerment, means giving employees a role in decisions on strategy, investment, and other major organizational matters. High involvement management is conceived as an alternative to a control model, which is founded on job simplification, tightly defined divisions of labor, rigid allocations of individuals to narrowly defined tasks, and minimal employee participation in higherlevel decisions.
High involvement management is, for Lawler, distinctive precisely because it includes organization-level empowerment and goes beyond a narrow concept of job redesign; it includes the organizational changes that are designed to support the job-level involvement.
These include changes in supervisory roles and systems and in the allocation and determination of rewards. Without such organizational redesigns, job involvement may well fail, for example, if supervisors unilaterally usurp the decision-making authority that employees may have been given.
The underlying concept is that if workers are to be strongly involved in their organization and to care enthusiastically about its performance, then they need to be able to influence decisions. To do this effectively, workers also need to know about the goals and strategy of the organization, have the knowledge and skills to contribute to those goals, and be rewarded for using their skills to promote them. Consequently, Lawler's high involvement management model has four dimensions, respectively termed power, information sharing, developing knowledge, and rewarding performance. The power dimension is the fulcrum; it ensures that power...