In recent years there has been a widespread and increasing preoccupation with various schemes for employees' participation in decisions within undertakings, especially in Western Europe where it has achieved major social, economic and political significance. There are a variety of definitions, terminological variations and differing views as to precisely what the concept of 'participation' entails. There are important and related differences in the purposes which the particular type of participation is intended to promote and from which its institutionalised forms cannot be abstracted. A comprehensive empirical study which systematically examines a number of possible determinants of formal participative arrangements across 11 Western European countries, together with Israel, has recently been carried out by an international research group. The evidence from experience of employees' participation within a variety of countries indicates that the results so far have been limited.