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Should workers have more democracy in the workplace?

It is not uncommon for US businesses to follow an authoritarian , command chain model of power distribution and decision making. Some voices argue that this increases efficiency and productivity. Some other voices argue that this is in discrepancy with the overall values of the country (which are democratic) and that it limits the freedom of those who work. What do you think? Are people free at work? Should they have more freedom? Should they not? Do you perceive the chain command model as a short term privation of freedom of any sorts? Longlive and others, Asking questions is at the very base of our culture. And asking questions is the basis of progress and innovation. Just because something is status quo of your culture it doesn't mean you shouldn't be free to speak about it. That is , in the end, what makes us valuable as a civilization. JB, I agree, that is a well thought point of view. Longlive, No, actually, it would. Just because you wouldn't ask it it doesn't mean nobody else would. Natasha, Yes , that is a very good suggestion. My question indeed doesn't have anything to do with past political regimes, but it was meant to invite to free and constructive sociological and philosophical discussion. I only asked the question, I didn't really answer it, so I never said that I am for or against it. So, if it will be better understood this way, I should reformulate: do people feel that subordinate employees should have a bigger voice in the workplace? Would this be fair to owners of businesses? To workers themselves? Phoenix , I don't know why you keep mentioning Marxism. Again, my question pertains more to the field of management science, or to industrial and organizational psychology , rather than to politics and the government. My primary focus was however philosophical and sociological. At any rate, I never implied any political agenda of any groups of interest that exist or existed out there. And workplace democracy is not a marxist doctrine that should be made illegal like you say!! Respected researchers into management methodology have written on different aspects of enhancing worker freedom and satisfaction in the workplace, usually with the purpose of more productivity. In fact, a number of companies apply such principles with their employees already , and they are the product of capitalism, not of communism! (!)! Why can't people just talk openly about something without resorting to close minded stereotypes? AND without getting informed (at all?!) ? Natasha, Thank you, this is a great answer! I see where you are coming from, and I share some of your views. When put in the position of the leader, I try to maintain the leader-servant position (as much as is realistic) , and I guess I do mix it with a paternalistic approach. But I have always also mixed it with a democratic approach, in that I have tried to put as many things to vote as realistically possible , and I strived to give people the feeling that what is happening is the application of their contributions. But I guess this depends a lot on your context and the people you manage. If it is initiative driven people , a democratic style works. If not, then you are right , a more authoritarian style is needed. At any rate, you brought some great insight, I've learned a lot! p.s.: I think the best way to put my vision of democratic organization is that it can still be done with strong leadership. The two would not have to be mutually exclusive.

Asked By: the voice - 11/12/2010
Best Answer - Chosen by Asker
We are free at work because we aren't forced to work anywhere in particular. I have had many jobs and it seems those that work and care about the product, themselves, other employees, the customer are marginalized by those who don't care about the product, don't care about themselves, other employees or the customer... More
Answered By: Natasha's Ghost - 11/13/2010
Additional Answers (8)
No.
Answered By: thegreatone - 11/12/2010
 
i know what you mean, sometimes i feel like my job is my prison till i go home, i have to do everything the warden says or i'll get in trouble but at least i have nice managers
Answered By: Pearl L - 11/12/2010
 
They can have their full say when they own the company. Until then, they can suggest, ask, participate but the owners set the tone and the regulations within the government they live. Chain of command model keeps communication flowing and decision making at the level it needs to be at.
Answered By: DM - 11/12/2010
 
Not appropriate in corporate. In business, efficiency is king. White-collar workers in particular are highly paid for their efficiency... More
Answered By: Klondike - 11/12/2010
 
I think it would be cool if workers had a democratically elected team leader. If those team leaders were not adequate then they would lose in the next elections.
Answered By: CoolLuke - 11/12/2010
 
At any job I"ve ever had there's always been a chain of command. It's primary function is so that there is structure and organization. It's a good and necessary concept in and of itself. To say that the concept itself is too restrictive is wrong. It's the way it is delegated and executed that matters.
Answered By: JB - 11/12/2010
 
Should you start your own business one day, you would not be asking this question. Think about the military, absolute command chain is necessary... More
Answered By: longliveabcdefg - 11/12/2010
 
Bluntly put we are in a recession because not enough people know the answer to your question is "Oh HELL NO... More
Answered By: Phoenix Quill - 11/13/2010
 
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