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Resources on Participation

Make Your Own Zone Chart: The Frontiers and Boundaries Handbook

The Ownership Culture Report: Participation and Decision Making

Index of Articles on Participation


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Participation: Advanced Tools

In this section:


Ownership and Decision Making


Managing Expectations

Corporate Performance

Ownership Responsibilities

Evaluating Involvement Systems

"Zone Charts"

Advanced Tools

Case Study

OA Services

For companies that want to build or improve participative systems, the advanced components of Frontiers and Boundaries will provide tools to make the process smooth and ensure that the final result is easy to use and satisfies the criteria for a successful participative system.

Companies typically work closely with Ownership Associates as part of a long-term project to design or improve a participation system. The engagement begins with the Frontiers and Boundaries material as described in OA Services. Consulting engagements typically include substantial adaptation, planning, and training. Company leaders should be prepared to invest time and energy.

The key tools in building participative systems are Decision Grids and Decision Reports.

Decision Grids

Companies wishing to build participation systems will make use of Decision Grids. Decision Grids are templates which clarify how categories of decisions should be made. They show who should be involved in different types of decisions, and what form that involvement should take. (For example, supervisors may have the authority to make some decisions on their own. For other types of decisions, supervisors simply receive information after a decision has been made. The CEO may retain veto power over some or all decisions.)

Rather than being filled out each time a decision is made, Decision Grids serve as guidelines to remind decision makers how to proceed under normal circumstances, and to communicate to employees how they can and should participate. Decision Grids reduce guess-work and mystery in the decision-making process.

The Decision Grids are based on the idea that all decisions, from the most routine local decisions to major changes in strategic direction, move through six steps, and that attention to each step will ensure that decisions are made more effectively, communicated more broadly, and often implemented in less time.

Decision Grids categorize employee involvement into four distinct roles. For example, those involved in the Consulting role are listened to, but do not make the final decision.

Decision Reports

The Decision Report is a Frontiers and Boundaries communication device used to share information about a decision, once a decision has been made. At the Carris Corporation, Decision Reports have facilitated communication about corporate decisions from headquarters to individual sites.

Case Study

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