Posits that quality circles (QCs) are a form of employee involvement (EI) which failed due to inconsistent support from management and because they were unable to cope with the realities of organizational power. The QC programme in Land‐Rover flourished during most of the 1990s and is atypical of the national trend where programmes have tended to be short‐lived. States, theoretically, that QCs in Land‐Rover are similar to other programmes in so far as they depend on management support and do not fundamentally challenge the managerial prerogative. Most QC programmes in the UK commenced as an EI initiative, but soon raised issues of participative management which contributed to the brevity of their popularity. The comparative longevity of QCs in Land‐Rover suggests a greater capacity in the company for participative management, although this was unexploited over the long‐term because of the prevailing managerial ideology and its overriding emphasis on economic rationality. Investigates the evidence from the employee perspective.
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