Dear members,
On one of the WA groups of HR, Administrator of the groups, Mr Rajaram Thorve has raised the topic for discussion. Today's topic for discussion is on "Workers' Participation in Management and Anonymous Complaints" He has asked the following questions:
Is worker's participation in management decision making process a reality or myth?
Is the suggestion box best medium to get ideas from workers for improvisation of procedures, systems and culture of the organization?
Is it true that instead of receiving suggestions, anonymous complaints are received against the manager or immediate superior of workers?
Do anonymous complaints received from workers help to investigate the issue/problem and take appropriate steps to fix it in discreet manner?
I have given the replies to the above questions and these are as below:
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Dear Mr Rajaram Thorve,
The replies to your questions are as below:
Q. 1 Is worker's participation in management decision making process a reality or myth?
Reply: - The first major step in the direction of workers’ participation in management (WPM) in India was the enactment of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 with the dual purpose of prevention and settlement of industrial disputes. The Industrial Policy Resolution, 1948 advocated WPM by suggesting that labour should be in all matters concerning industrial production. Article 43 A of the Constitution of India has provided for WPM in these words:
“The State shall take steps, by suitable legislation, or in any other way, to secure the participation of workers in management of undertakings, establishments or other organisations engaged in an industry”.
Therefore, the framers of India's constitution should be complimented for anticipating the need for involving workers' in the decision-making process. Nevertheless, it depends on management whether to make this concept real or make it myth. Whether to implement WPM superfluously or wholeheartedly depends on the management.

Q. 2 Is the suggestion box best medium to get ideas from workers for improvisation of procedures, systems and culture of the organization?
Reply: - Keeping suggestion box is very old idea. I doubt whether leadership of 21st century waits for suggestions to be dropped in the box. In organised companies there are suggestion cells. A suggestion is sent through a software and sooner a suggestion is uploaded a reference number is given. There are three possibilities for every idea:
a) Outright implementation of the idea
b) Deferred implementation of the idea
c) Implementation after due diligence
d) Non-implementation if (b) and (c) are not possible
In fact, the companies that practice TQM, give a target to the employees to come up with at least one idea for process improvement. Suggestions are also invited from suppliers, customers, advisers etc.

Q. 3 Is it true that instead of receiving suggestions, anonymous complaints are received against the manager or immediate superior of workers?
Reply: - There is a difference between giving suggestion and making a complaint. Suggestion is nothing but proposition of an idea to reduce cost or consumption of the resources or reduce process turnaround time. In contrast, complaint is an expression of grievance or resentment. If the complaints are made anonymously, then it shows lack of environment of trust. An employee wants to brings to the notice an anomaly or a deviation but wants to conceal his/her identity manifests his/her insecurity. Anonymous complaint also manifests loyalty to the company but at the same time employees prefers not to be in limelight. It might be because of the nature of the employee or some fear.
Q. 4 Do anonymous complaints received from workers help to investigate the issue/problem and take appropriate steps to fix it in discreet manner?
Reply: - Whether it is received openly or anonymously, every complaint has to be handled with due sensitivity. Before ordering investigation, top authorities may generate sufficient intelligence. To generate evidence, top leadership may keep under surveillance the parties involved in the matter.
Nevertheless, there is other side of the anonymous complaint too. Management must investigate whether there is attempt to tarnish image of some employee or manager? Has anonymous complaint been made to settle score? Was manager working in the interest of the company but junior perceived it as anti-organisational activity and made anonymous complaint? Is complaint driven by evidence or mere perception? These are the serious question on which management must ponder before ordering investigation?

Thanks,
Dinesh Divekar
23rd March 2018 From India, Bangalore
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