High Involvement Work Systems and Political Efficacy: A Tale of Two Departments  - CLEO Skip to main content


Carole Pateman argues that democratic participation in the workplace can increase workers’ feelings of political efficacy and political participation. We explore this issue by looking at the implementation of a high involvement work system (HIWS), using both cross-sectional and longitudinal comparisons. Political efficacy did not change overall, but increased in one department where the HIWS was strongly supported and very successful, and decreased in another department characterized by bad labor-management relations and little management support. The results suggest that social connections, a sense that one’s work is meaningful, and positive labor-management relations can increase workers’ feelings of political efficacy.