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Enhancing participation through organizational drivers

Fernando Ruiz-Pérez (TECNUN School of Engineering, University of Navarra, Donostia-San Sebastián, Spain)
Álvaro Lleó (TECNUN School of Engineering, University of Navarra, Donostia-San Sebastián, Spain)
Elisabeth Viles (TECNUN School of Engineering, University of Navarra, Donostia-San Sebastián, Spain)
Daniel Jurburg (CINOI - Engineering Faculty, Universidad de Montevideo, Montevideo, Uruguay)

The TQM Journal

ISSN: 1754-2731

Article publication date: 28 September 2020

Issue publication date: 24 May 2021




This paper unifies previous research literature on employee participation in continuous improvement (CI) activities through the development and validation of a conceptual model. The purpose of this model is to illustrate how organizational drivers foster organizational and individual enablers which, in turn, strengthen employee participation in CI. The article also discusses the results and managerial implications.


Firstly, the article introduces the main variables affecting employee participation in CI, looking at the different possible relationships proposed in existing literature. In accordance with the Kaye and Anderson (1999) framework, these variables are categorized into organizational drivers, organizational and individual enablers and individual outcomes. Based on these categories, a model was put forward and empirically validated using data collected from three Spanish companies (n = 483) and using partial least squares structural equations modelling (PLS–SEM).


A model was put forward, proposing PIRK systems (power, information, rewards, knowledge) as the main organizational driver of employee participation in CI activities. PIRK impacts positively on social influence (organizational enabler), self-efficacy and job satisfaction (individual enablers). These enablers, together with employee intention of participating, help determine employee participation in CI activities.

Practical implications

Organizations with CI programmes should develop systems based on employee empowerment, information, rewards and knowledge in order to foster their self-efficacy and seek out a culture where social influence may help to improve job satisfaction. By suitably managing these organizational drivers, managers can help to further develop certain organizational and individual enablers responsible for fostering employee participation in CI activities.


By unifying different behavioural and CI-related frameworks, this paper carries out an in-depth study into the process of fostering employee participation as the key aspect in helping organizations sustain CI programmes. This paper shows the importance of managing PIRK organizational drivers as levers in the process of developing certain organizational and individual enablers, which are responsible for enhancing employee participation in CI.



Ruiz-Pérez, F., Lleó, Á., Viles, E. and Jurburg, D. (2021), "Enhancing participation through organizational drivers", The TQM Journal, Vol. 33 No. 4, pp. 823-840.



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