For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"Non-Domination, Workplace Republicanism, and the Justification of Worker Voice and Control"

by Breen, Keith (2017)

Abstract

Recent years have seen two distinct responses emerge within republican political theory to the problem of managerial domination in the workplace. The first, as found within the ‘neorepublican’ theories of Philip Pettit and Frank Lovett, argues that, in addition to existing regulatory protections, free market exchange backed up with an effective right of exit for employees secured through unconditional basic income policies is sufficient to counter employer domination. The second response, advanced by a number of ‘workplace republicans’, challenges the neo-republican understanding of economic domination and the claim that a right of exit secured through basic income policies can sufficiently check managerial power. Under this alternative perspective, what are required are tight regulation of workplace practices and the institutionalization of worker voice and democratic control within firms. This article explores the neo-republican argument and strategy for limiting employer domination through an effective right of exit. It then moves to question the neorepublican position and to offer an evaluation and defence of some of the strategies recommended by workplace republicans as a means towards institutionalizing employee voice and control within firms.

Keywords

Republicanism, Political Theory, Politics, Domination, Basic Income, Worker Voice

Themes

Voice, Workplace Republicanism, Domination

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