Participation, Organization, and Social Cohesion

John Child*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There is a demand for the extension of participation in organizational decision-making. If realized, this should strengthen the stability of a democratic society through providing more people with a meaningful experience of democratic processes. At the same time, however, organizations are continuing to become bigger and their control more centralized. This trend is illustrated for Britain. It leads to an increasing remoteness of decision making on policy issues away from employees and members of the public. The effects of bureaucratization, which accompanies growth, exacerbate the remoteness. So far as participation is concerned, a growing contradiction is therefore emerging between social ideology and social reality, and this is not being given adequate recognition. The likely result is a weakening commitment to collective social objectives and a declining perceived legitimacy of social institutions. It is concluded that a resolution of this problem would be assisted by recognizing how the economic advantages of large-scale organization have been exaggerated and how there are organizational design possibilities for avoiding the socially less desirable aspects of bureaucracy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)429-451
Number of pages23
JournalHuman Relations
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1976


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