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Participatory management refers to involving nonmanagement employees in decisions that directly affect them. It is a form of decentralization that pushes decision making down to the lowest possible level within an organization. Participation can be very limited, with managers obtaining input from a few employees regarding a minor task, or very extensive, where all employees participate on teams that make a wide range of productivity and budgetary decisions and are financially rewarded for doing so.

Participatory management is often juxtaposed with the traditional command-and-control system of management, where nonmanagement employees are excluded from an organization's decisionmaking process. Factors contributing to the spread of participatory management systems include the trend toward self-management, a more educated workforce, and more than a century of praise by leading management theorists.

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