Participatory Management Under Sections 2(5) and 8(a) (2) of the National Labor Relations Act

This Note argues that participatory management programs initiated by the employer in nonunion settings should be permissible under the NLRA when they do not restrict the freedom of employees to choose their own bargaining representative. Section I describes the major currents of participatory management theory. Section II explores the restrictive interpretation the National Labor Relations Board (Board) and the courts have traditionally given those sections of the NLRA applicable to participatory management programs. Section III describes the increasingly permissive approach taken by some courts, and to a lesser extent by the Board, in applying the NLRA to participatory management settings. Section IV examines the legislative histories of the NLRA and subsequent federal labor legislation, and concludes that participatory management furthers federal labor relations policy.