Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Dissertation


Management--Employee participation; Teacher participation in administration; School management and organization--Decision making;


Development of the open-systems view of organizations has made participative management an attractive alternative to traditional bureaucratic methods of managing. The purpose of this dissertation was to determine whether it is possible to generalize about the effects of participative management. Given empirical generalizations, it would be possible to make recommendations for practicing school administrators.

Utilizing the framework of Locke and Schweiger (1979), the author took a purposefully selected cross-section of studies on participative management. The empirical evidence was analyzed in four subsections: laboratory studies, correlational field studies, multivariate experimental field studies, and controlled experimental studies. It was concluded that the results were equivocal, with studies demonstrating the effectiveness and ineffectiveness of participation in relation to productive efficiency and satisfaction.

A far smaller body of literature exists concerning the effects of participative management in educational organizations. Generally, teachers gain satisfaction from involvement and influence over decisions affecting instruction.

The author concluded that the empirical evidence was equivocal, therefore it was impossible to form generalizations to guide practice. Two explanations for the ambiguous findings were presented. First, the studies as a whole were methodologically flawed, exhibiting the following characteristics: absence, or poor operational definition of terms; poor internal and external validity; insufficient data on instrument reliability; contamination by the researcher, or other extraneous variables. Second, the studies were based on the epistemologically erroneous assumptions of the positivist paradigm. From the interpretive paradigm which views organizations as the constructed reality of members, it is impossible, even with the most sophisticated research design, to identify the "facts" about participation. The discovery of inconclusive evidence was, therefore, inevitable.

Despite the absence of irrefutable empirical evidence, managers should consider participative practices for philosophical reasons. Classical democratic theory, leadership as a moral concept, and the changing nature of the Western social character, were presented as ideological connotations of participation in decision making. John Dewey believed that the very organization of schools provides learning experiences for children on how to treat one another. Embracing this idea, the dissertation closes with open-ended questions to be debated by administrators and teachers considering participative management.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Department of Educational Administration and Counseling

First Advisor

Fred D. Carver

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (v, 228 pages)



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