The Next Stage in Employee Involvement: Partnership for Strategic Planning and Management

Source: Carrie G. Donald, Thomas S. Lyons, Rebecca C. Tribbey, University of Louisville, Labor-Management Center, April 2000

From the abstract:
Programs for employee involvement in management decision-making have evolved through numerous stages. Many of these programs, once implemented, did not last. However, an avenue that currently holds particular promise is that of joint strategic planning efforts. Strategic planning and its corollary, strategic management, contain advantages for lasting labor-management partnerships in areas where previous involvement efforts have been deficient. By its nature, strategic planning requires an organization to articulate and assess its most basic activities and values. Strategic planning, instead of imposing a new program on top of an existing structure, has the potential to reconstruct an organization. Often, for employee participation or a labor-management partnership to work, such fundamental change is needed. Successful implementation of strategic goals requires the understanding and support of the people most often expected to carry out those goals–the employees. In a unionized setting, joint strategic planning holds great potential for the union to form its own goals and make sure these are incorporated into an overarching plan for labor and management. In this paper, we present specific cases where strategic planning has been used to form labor-management partnerships. We attempt to show how decision-making patterns can be fundamentally changed through the experience of joint strategic planning. The ultimate goal is a lasting labor-management partnership. In this case, strategic planning and management can be instrumental in producing a sustained commitment and enhanced labor-management relations.

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