Better corporate performance by empowering employees
A recent study on employment in manufacturing firms in Sri Lanka has suggested that management practices that empower employees and foster mutual trust lead to better corporate performance.

The initiative to ensure more employee influence in companies emerges from management and is linked with the achievement of management objectives and is referred to as employee involvement (EI).

EI practices lead to higher organizational performance and greater employee morale, according to the study by Dr. A.K.L Jayawardana, senior consultant in Quality and Productivity Management at the Postgraduate Institute of Management.

He was recently awarded the Degree of Doctor of Business Administration from University of Canberra, Australia for his study and doctoral thesis titled "Sustaining Employee Involvement in a Developing Country".

Compared to the control-oriented practices of traditional organizations, participative methods lead to lower levels of absence and employee turnover and higher individual work performance.

For employee involvement efforts to be effective several organizational design elements must be moved to lower organizational levels. The key elements that drive the employee involvement process as derived from motivation theory are power, information, knowledge and rewards.

It is argued that moving these key elements down the level of the organization leads to employees feeling ownership and responsibility for work, Dr. Jayawardana said.

Employees should be drawn into the corporate culture through commitment to its values and objectives and should be capable of taking related decisions and be empowered to become self-managers rather than act as passive recipients of management plans, Dr.Jayawardana said.

Dr.Jayawardana has been commended for his thesis, with Dr. J. Sheilds, an examiner of the thesis from University of Sydney, stating that "the study meets the twin test of originality and making a significant contribution to knowledge in the field".

Dr.Jayawardana has over 25 years experience in the industry and for 10 years served as the executive director of Asian Cotton Mills Ltd. He had his education at Sri Palee College, Horana and at Dharmapala Vidyalaya, Pannipitiya. He obtained a first class degree in Bachelor of Technology (B Tech), majoring in Textiles from the University of Madras in 1974 and later in 1989 obtained a Postgraduate Diploma in Management from Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka.

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