Industrial democracy

Industrial democracy

Industrial democracy is an arrangement which involves workers making decisions, sharing responsibility and authority in the workplace. In company law, the term generally used is co-determination, following the German word "Mitbestimmung". In Germany half of the supervisory board of directors (which elects management) is elected by the shareholders, and the other half by the workers. Although industrial democracy generally refers to the organization model in which workplaces are run directly by the people who work in them in place of private or state ownership of the means of production, there are also representative forms of industrial democracy. Representative industrial democracy includes decision making structures such as the formation of committees and consultative bodies to facilitate communication between management, unions, and staff.

Benefits of industrial democracy

Advocates often point out that industrial democracy increases productivity and service delivery from a more fully engaged and happier workforce. Other benefits include the following: less industrial dispute resulting from better communication in the workplace; improved and inclusive decision making processes resulting in qualitatively better workplace decisions; decreased stress and increased well-being; an increase in job satisfaction; a reduction in absenteeism; improved sense of fulfillment.

Industrial democracy and revolutionary socialism

In late 19th century and at the beginning of the 20th century industrial democracy, along with anarcho-syndicalism and new unionism, represented one of the dominant tendencies in revolutionary socialism and played a prominent role in international labour movements. While their influence declined after the defeat of the anarchists in the Spanish Revolution in 1939, several unions and organizations advocating industrial democracy continue to exist and are again on the rise internationally.

The Industrial Workers of the World advance an industrial unionism which would organize all the workers, regardless of skill, gender or race, into one big union divided into a series of departments corresponding to different industries. The industrial unions would be the embryonic form of future post-capitalist production. Once sufficiently organized, the industrial unions would overthrow capitalism by means of a general strike, and carry on production through worker run enterprises without bosses or the wage system. Anarcho-syndicalist unions, like the Confederación Nacional del Trabajo, are similar in their means and ends but organize workers into geographically based and federated syndicates rather than industrial unions.

The New Unionism Network also promotes workplace democracy as a means to linking production and economic democracy.

Representative industrial democracy in modern capitalist economies

Modern industrial economies have adopted several aspects of industrial democracy to improve productivity and as reformist measures against industrial disputes. Often referred to as "teamworking", this form of industrial democracy has been practiced in Scandinavia, Germany, The Netherlands and the UK, as well as in several Japanese companies including Toyota, as an effective alternative to Taylorism.

The term is often used synonymously with workplace democracy, in which the traditional master-servant model of employment gives way to a participative, power-sharing model.

ee also

* Workers' self-management
* Collective Bargaining
* Co-determination
* Industrial Relations
* Industrial Workers of the World
* New unionism
* Socialist Party USA
* League for Industrial Democracy
* Workers' council
* Workplace democracy


External links

* [ Mondragon Corporacion Cooperativa, Spain]
* [ Economic and Industrial Democracy: An International Journal]
* [ New Unionism Network]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • industrial democracy — UK US noun [U] WORKPLACE, HR ► an arrangement in which workers share responsibility with management for making business decisions: »Industrial democracy today is about the need to involve employees to a greater extent in company decision making …   Financial and business terms

  • industrial democracy — An ideal in which citizenship rights in employment are held to include partial or complete participation by the workforce in the running of an industrial or commercial organization. The term, and others associated with it, is often laden with… …   Dictionary of sociology

  • industrial democracy — (U.K.) HR a way of running an organization that involves employees in strategy and decision making. Industrial democracy involves employee participation in management, which empowers employees and aids motivation. It can be facilitated by such… …   The ultimate business dictionary

  • industrial democracy — noun : the determination of a company s policies affecting the welfare of its workers by joint action of management and worker representatives * * * industrial democracy noun A form of management in which workers representatives are appointed to… …   Useful english dictionary

  • industrial democracy — Any system in which workers participate in the management of an organization or in sharing its profits. Participative decision making can improve industrial relations and add to workers job satisfaction and motivation Various schemes have been… …   Big dictionary of business and management

  • industrial democracy — /ɪnˌdʌstriəl dəˈmɒkrəsi/ (say in.dustreeuhl duh mokruhsee) noun the extension of democratic principles to industry by providing opportunities for workers to participate in the decision making process within their work environment …   Australian English dictionary

  • League for Industrial Democracy — The League for Industrial Democracy (or LID) was founded in 1905 by a group of notable socialists including Jack London, Norman Thomas, and Upton Sinclair. Its original name was the Intercollegiate Socialist Society, and its stated purpose was… …   Wikipedia

  • Bullock Report (industrial democracy) — The Bullock Report was a report proposing for a form of worker participation or workers control, named for Alan Bullock. The idea was seen by some as a way to solve the chronic industrial disputes, by others as the next stage forward for… …   Wikipedia

  • Economic and Industrial Democracy — (EID) Beschreibung Wissenschaftliche Zeitschrift für Industrial Relations Sprache Englisch Verlag SAGE Publications …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Industrial relations — is a multidisciplinary field that studies the employment relationship.[1] Industrial relations is increasingly being called employment relations because of the importance of non industrial employment relationships. Many outsiders[who?] also… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.