(redirected from consult)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Acronyms, Idioms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.


the process in which managers inform and seek the views of others before finally deciding what course of action to take. It may take place with interested parties outside the organization, for example local authorities, or with those inside. In INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS, joint consultation is where managers consult with employee representatives. It differs from COLLECTIVE BARGAINING in that managers do not usually seek formal agreement and in theory NEGOTIATION does not occur. Instead, representatives are there to listen to management plans and to express their views on them. However, since these views may be forcefully expressed and may be backed up by substantial power resources, managers may have to modify or even abandon their plans as a result. Thus the difference between consultation and collective bargaining may therefore be more apparent than real, and may hinge on the procedural distinction that disagreements during consultation cannot normally be carried forward to the next stage of a GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE.

Consultation may occur in a variety of bodies – joint consultative committee, works committee, etc. – and may involve workplace trade union representatives (SHOP STEWARDS) or representatives elected by all employees separately from union channels of representation. In the latter case, the consultative body is often known as the Works Council, after the German name for such institutions (see CO-DETERMINATION).

Traditionally, consultation has been viewed as dealing with minor welfare issues (‘tea ‘n toilets’) though major rationalizations can be the subject of consultation. However, it is a common complaint that employees are either not consulted at all over such important issues or else consultation is left to such a late stage that it is impossible to modify managerial plans. In recent years some companies, e.g. some of the Japanese firms in the UK, have extended consultation to cover issues relating to company strategy whilst legislation has stipulated that information should be disclosed to unions and their representatives relating to REDUNDANCY. Equally, there has been a shift in some organizations from formal joint consultation with employee representatives to direct COMMUNICATION with individual employees. Currently the EUROPEAN WORKS COUNCIL directive of the European Union is requiring that large European firms with plants in more than one member state establish works councils composed of employee representatives from all parts of the company for the purpose of consultation on key issues of company strategy. See DISCLOSURE OF INFORMATION, EMPLOYEE INVOLVEMENT, EMPLOYEE PARTICIPATION.

Collins Dictionary of Business, 3rd ed. © 2002, 2005 C Pass, B Lowes, A Pendleton, L Chadwick, D O’Reilly and M Afferson
References in periodicals archive ?
The following metrics were collected for each of the 405 days: total number of inpatient consults and outpatient consults, total number of combined consults, age, admitting service, injury or reason for consult, and number of urgent/emergent consults.
MD Consult and First Consult are both available as institutional and individual subscriptions.
Last March, in reporting on Elsevier's launch of FIRST Consult, similar to POCKET Consult, NL/NL said, "Welcome to the dawn of wireless newsletters and specialized information, a development that the prescient Al Goodloe predicted in his June 2003 speech at the NEPA international conference" (NL/NL 3/16/04).
He insisted that a motion he presented, which said that all dioceses should consult widely on deeply controversial issues, was "not about sexuality but about how we handled disagreement.
* To get started serving nonprofits, consult a state association nonprofits directory to see who is in your region.
They consult their client's attorney(s) and refer to local case law to determine what types of income and expenses a court considers relevant when it establishes pending-divorce and postdivorce support awards, the amounts of which may differ.
(Chestnut Hill, MA) has signed an agreement to acquire the 33% stake of MD Consult (St.
Foster and Foster said the acquisition will enable to better tailor its services to consult directly to clients of any size, while minimizing unnecessary administrative costs that may be charged by larger actuarial consulting firms.
Frankel has been named a principal consultant with PB Consult, the management and strategic consulting unit of the PB organization.
Bruce Johinke has been named president of PB Consult, a Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB) subsidiary that provides management consulting services to developers of infrastructure projects worldwide.