Less Effective with Unskilled Workers
Another disadvantage of participative leadership theories is that they don't work on every type of workplace environment. Manufacturing companies that have a large workforce might have more difficulty arriving to a business decision using a democratic leadership style. Additionally, level of skills play a role, as a large percentage of unskilled labor might hinder business decisions. Or, an employee who lacks group skills might not have his voice heard in the democratic process. Thus, this leadership style works best with smaller, more skilled labor force that can provide management with informed input.
Managers might not be inclined to inform every employee about sensitive business information. Though this information might be vital for assessing the proper strategy, but may not be information in which every employee should be privy. In participative leadership theories, however, vital information might be shared regardless of its sensitive nature. This not only can lead to a possible information leak, but also conflict among workers.
One of the major flaws in participative leadership theories is the level of time it takes from problem to solution. When a group of people are supposed to deliberate on a problem and possible strategies, they must have structure and guidance to help them be more time effective when arriving to a decision. Though later amendments, such as the decision tree and the time-driven decision tree, tried to give the participative style more structure, time efficiency is still a problem. For example, in a scenario where there are only six priorities strategies to choose from, subordinates would still have to come to accord one of the six strategies. In cases where there is a time constraint or an immediate deadline, it might not be feasible to accommodate this deliberation process.
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