American employers increasingly use employee participation groups (Eaton 1994; Finding 3 of S. 295 [TEAM Act 1997]). Some groups have a spe cific and narrow purpose, such as continuous im provement of product quality. Others are broader and less defined. These are often found in firms that have trimmed management jobs, flattened their organizational structure, and embraced employee empowerment. The increased use of participation groups over the past twenty years also coincides with the American labor movement’s membership decline.