Employee participation and quality of work environment: Denmark and New Zealand

Raymond Markey, Herman Knudsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Traditionally it has been held that employee participation impacts positively upon the quality of the work environment (QWE). However, recent research suggests that certain forms of participation such as job autonomy in high-performance workplaces may be associated with work intensification and stress. This article analyses the impact on QWE of different types and intensities of employee participation through sixteen case studies in four sectors in New Zealand and Denmark: hotels, schools, health facilities and food processing plants. The studies show that although participation is not the only factor that influences employee QWE, it is important, especially where direct and representative forms co-exist and interact. There is some evidence that participation based on a democratic model is associated with the best QWE performance, that direct participation alongside weak representative participation impacts negatively on QWE, and that a greater depth and scope of representative participation in Denmark impacts positively on QWE. However, sectoral as well as workplace characteristics qualify these general trends.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-126
Number of pages22
JournalInternational journal of comparative labour law and industrial relations
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Quality of Work Environment
  • Work Environment
  • Employee Participation
  • Direct Participation
  • Representative Participation
  • Psychosocial Work Environment


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