The paper examines definitional issues surrounding the concept of workers' participation. A distinction is drawn between schemes to involve workers as a practical matter in the management democracy and workers' control. Arguments about the benefits of workers participation are examined and evaluated. Distinctions are drawn between different forms and organisational levels of participation. In particular, job enrichment, autonomous and semi-autonomous work groups, quality circles and collective bargaining are singled out for attention. A perspective is provided on developments in Western Europe, with particular emphasis on the German and Swedish experiences. Lessons for Australia and New Zealand are suggested. The situation in Australia and New Zealand is outlined. Past obstacles and barriers to participation, arising from the nature of the industrial relations systems, and attitudes and policies of governments, employers and unions are discussed. Some more positive recent developments are analysed, and a prognosis for possible future developments is suggested.