"Workplace Democracy—The Recent Debate"
Abstract The article reviews the recent debate about workplace democracy. It first presents and critically discusses arguments in favor of democratizing the firm that are based on the analogy with states, meaningful work, the avoidance of unjustified hierarchies, and beneficial effects on political democracy. The second part presents and critically discusses arguments against workplace democracy that are based on considerations of efficiency, the difficulties of a transition towards democratic firms, and liberal commitments such as the rights of employees and owners to work for or invest in nondemocratic firms. The conclusion summarizes the debate and argues that experiments with democratic workplaces as what Erik Olin Wright calls "real utopias" could deliver new insights and thus move the discussion forward.
KeywordsWorkplace Democracy, Meaningful Work, Hierarchies, Democracy, Democratic Firms, Utopia
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