Article | Organizational Dynamics

Do Supervisors Thrive in Participative Work Systems?

by Leonard A. Schlesinger and Richard E. Walton


This article presents the findings regarding the nature of the difficulties surrounding the supervisory role in participative work systems, a conceptualization of the supervisor/work group interface, and some action implications for the management of organizations. Supervisory roles within innovative work systems can be analyzed and improved by emphasizing task accomplishment through increased employee participation and self direction. As workplace innovations that promote employee participation and self-direction become more widespread, models of collaborative leadership are needed that can provide the operating manager with tools for the design and management of organizations capable of enhancing both employer productivity and the quality of working life.

Keywords: Managerial Roles; Organizational Design; Management Practices and Processes; Innovation and Invention;


Schlesinger, Leonard A., and Richard E. Walton. "Do Supervisors Thrive in Participative Work Systems?" Organizational Dynamics 7, no. 3 (Winter 1979): 24–38.