ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Making of a Participative Forum BHEL Experience

This paper recounts the experience of the Joint Committee, the apex, participative union-management forum of the public sector organisation, Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited. The data, based on the minutes of the Joint Committee meetings, covering the period from the setting up of the forum in 1973 through to mid-1982. The paper tracer how in a multiple union situation, the forum sought to evolve commonly acceptable norms for deter- mining union representation to the forum, and then went on to reconstitute itself through secret ballot Through the process of joint decision-making, the apex body was able to make both management and unions accountable to the forum, and acquire directive authority as well as participate in rule-making for the organisation. On the basis of this experience, the paper concludes by questioning the validity of certain commonly held assumptions about workers' participation in management, in the Indian context.

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