First Advisor

Gerald F. Blake

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Urban Studies


Urban Studies and Planning




Quality circles, Electronic industries -- Management



Physical Description

x, 185 leaves 28 cm.


The literature on worker participation generally assumes that worker participation programs lead to positive work outcomes (e.g., job satisfaction) in more or less direct fashion. The current study challenges this assumption and posits that "desire for participation," and "attitudes toward participation," may affect the participation-satisfaction relationship. Data were gathered from a quality circle (QC) program at a large electronics manufacturing firm, using both quantitative (survey questionnaire), and qualitative (interviews, observation, meeting attendance) means. QC members and non members were compared on all attitude measures, and on general job satisfaction. The results indicated the following: (a) the participation-satisfaction thesis was not supported, (b) desire for participation emerged as a salient variable in terms of its relationship to job satisfaction and selected attitudes toward participation, (c) QC membership did not sufficiently enlist workers with a strong desire for participation, (d) management was criticized for interfering with the QC process, and (e) QCs were categorized as "manager-dominated," "stable," or "in crisis." The overall conclusion was that the relationship between worker participation and job satisfaction is more complex than it is characterized in extant literature. Recommendations for further research included: (a) the call for systematic exploration of desire for participation, and (b) analyses of the performance outcomes (e.g., productivity) of QCs in terms of the model tested in this study.


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Portland State University. School of Urban and Public Affairs.

Persistent Identifier