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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Worker participation in the reforestation labour force in British Columbia Davis Case, D’Arcy


One response to problems of low productivity and decreased job satisfaction in the workplace has been the institution of worker participation in decision-making. Evaluations of worker participation programs generally have shown them to be beneficial in terms of both job satisfaction and increased productivity. In British Columbia, we have a unique example of worker participation in the contract reforestation labour force which can be seen as an informally structured, semi-participative worker participation group. In light of theory on worker participation, this study examines two reforestation crews, one a contract crew and one a non-contract crew, to compare worker participation in the areas of technology, division of labour and organizational structure. Worker participation has been found by most researchers to be cost effective. This study compared cost differences between the two labour groups, and although it did not generate conclusive evidence of the relative cost efficiency of the contract group, it is suggested that the British Columbia Ministry of Forests Section 88 final planting cost data is not a reliable basis for determination of relative cost efficiencies. However, the perspectives of those working in reforestation, and an economic analysis of one case study suggest that the contract group is more cost effective. But changes in the contract work force are occurring. These changes can influence the worker participation evident in contract planting, and hence the cost effectiveness of contract planting. In order to capitalize on those attributes in the worker participation model which have value to the forest manager in the goal of forest renewal, the concept of stewardship, a long term contract which begins with planting and carries through to the "free to grow" stage, is one of the alternatives proposed for future reforestation contracts.

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