A key distinction that makes employee involvement attractive is one that emphasizes "offered involvement", rather than "required involvement". Employers must exercise great care in their packaging of involvement opportunities, especially in order to minimize the impression of exerted pressure on workers. Requiring involvement can alienate workers just as "the dance police" at parties do, when they pressure couples enjoying a quiet chat to get up and dance just because it is expected.
For example, a company charity drive is likelier to succeed if the employees feel they are choosing to be responsive rather than being pressured to accept responsibility for the well-being of others.
One kind of cleverly conceived involvement is inclusion of employees in the setting of goals, rather than in the allocation of the means to achieve them. This is because goals define tasks and their value far better than choice of means of achieving those goals do. A distinction between "goal involvement" and "means involvement" is closely analogous to the difference between involvement in strategic business or military planning (e.g., the battle planning of a general) and involvement in the logistics and tactics of implementing the "big picture", strategic vision. Allowing pizza parlor employees to design pizzas is far likelier to be experienced by them as involvement than telling them where to deliver them.
"Top-down" vs. "bottom-up" involvement also play an important role in contributions to the success or failure of employee-involvement efforts. Top-down involvement means giving employees enough authority or power to permit them to "call the play", define the tasks or allocate the resources. Bottom-up involvement is more likely to involve little more than minor tweaking of things already decided by those perched at the top of the decision tree.
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