The current debate is devoting increasing attention to organizational innovation as a key choice to escape from the present crisis, and on worker participation in decision-making processes at the workplace as a key factor for organizational innovation. The present paper addresses this issue with a twofold objective. It firstly aims at critically reflecting on the managerial practices most often used to foster worker participation. These practices are centred on tools for evaluating workers skills. Notwithstanding, they are drawn from theories that make them unsuitable to promote the kind of worker participation needed for organizational innovation. The problem lies in the theoretical assumption that top management should pre-determine the skills that workers need to participate in decision-making processes. It doesn’t matter that it concerns skills rather than behaviours, predetermination still hinders organizational innovation, and in complex working conditions it jeopardizes both economic performance and organizational equity. In light of that, the paper shall outline an approach to competence evaluation based on different assumptions, and namely on the idea that behaviours and knowledge can be partly pre-ruled, but workers may always change any pre-regulations, and develop new rules, knowledge and competence during the accomplishment of work in a way consistent with the achievement of economic performance and the satisfaction of their personal needs. The competence evaluation approach discussed in the paper thus makes new room for considering worker participation as a means to simultaneously satisfy different criteria of rationality. This consistently with a view of labour relations as relations where power is a non-zero-sum game.
Curzi, Ylenia e Tommaso, Fabbri. "Going beyond the capital-labour divide: some insights from an organizational analysis of worker participation at the workplace" Working paper, ESA (European Sociological Association) 11th Conference 2013: Crisis, Critique and Change, University of Turin, Torino, 28-31 August 2013,(convegno annuale), 2013.