This paper examines employee involvement initiatives in order to determine what firm-level factors have contributed to the slow development of such programs in Canada. In particular, two questions regarding firm-level activity were posed: what are the conditions under which employee involvement initiatives can be successful; and why might these conditions not be met? Six cases studies were analyzed and several hypotheses were formulated about the conditions necessary for employee involvement programs to succeed. An examination of the factors which influence the firm-level players revealed that several obstacles exist which may prevent these conditions from being realized. Unless specific action is taken on the part of management and unions, it is not likely that employee involvement initiatives can become integrated into Canadian industrial relations.
Laurie P. Richer, Industrial Relations Centre, Queen's University