Users’ basic right to influence their functional environment, their familiarity with the physical work environment, and a sense of ownership leading to reduced resistance to change, are the three main reasons underlying the growing trend of workers’ participation in workplace design. While a growing number of organizations pride themselves for conducting participatory design processes of new workplaces, a close examination of these processes questions the meaning of user participation in an organizational context. Arenstein’s (1969) criteria for participation was used for classifying activities of workplace design in several organizations. According to this criteria, participation is actualised when participants (i.e. workers) take part in decision making processes over the issue at hand. It underlies Arenstein’s “Ladder of Participation” model, a typology of three participatory situations: non-participation – where lay participants have no real decision-making power; tokenism – where participation is partial or questionable; and participation, in which participants are equal decision makers or even control the planning process . Records of design-related decision making activities in which workers were involved, were collected from five organizations: two private corporations, two government- and one public sector organizations. Analysis of the records from all five organizations revealed small differences in the overall approach to workers’ participation, which can be characterized as tokenism, according to Arenstein’s criteria and typology. None of the five organizations allowed workers to participate in initial strategic design decisions that strongly influenced the rest of the design process. Only the private corporations allowed workers some choice regarding individual workstations. The presentation will address the organizational context of workplace design, focussing on structural limitations to workers participation as resulting from power relations and organizational stratification.