The Influence of Participation in Decision-Making within the Enterprise Bargaining Context: Implications for Job Satisfaction and Affective Commitment
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This thesis explores the role and relationships of employee participation in decision-making (PDM) within the enterprise bargaining context. The advent of the enterprise bargaining to facilitate labour market restructuring has led to dramatic changes within Australian industrial relations, supposedly offering employees the opportunity to participate in changes to work practices, conditions of employment and rewards in return for employer gains in productivity (Niland, 1993). Productivity improvements have been achieved, but some researchers claim this has been at employees expense and that job satisfaction and affective commitment are declining as working hours increase, work intensifies, and job security diminishes. Employee PDM influencing more positive outcomes, such as improved productivity, satisfaction and commitment is appealing, but largely untested.Research data was gathered from the public, private and local government sectors to form two separate studies to test a model of PDM developed from the literature. The first Study analysed cross-sectional data to test the influence of PDM in relation to working conditions, work practices and rewards and outcomes of job satisfaction and affective commitment, while the second Study examined these relationships on an independent longitudinal matched sample. Analysis was conducted using Structural Equation Modelling with the EQS statistical package.Findings from both studies supported that higher levels of PDM correlate with higher levels of job satisfaction and affective commitment and Autonomy is the only significant mediator in the relationship PDM and affective commitment. Employees also perceived that increased task variety correlated with higher levels of PDM. Lower levels of PDM correlated with lower autonomy and perceptions of performance effectiveness. Although positive attitudes to PDM positively influence satisfaction and affective commitment outcomes, lowered perceived performance effectiveness and rewards compromise the gains achieved. These findings support the crucial role of employee participation in decision-making and sound a warning to practitioners in that increased demands for performance should not extend to role overload that reduces effectiveness, and must be matched with equitable rewards.
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