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Workplace Democratization

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“Anyone interested in implementing economic democracy, especially on the level of an individual firm, ought to study Bernstein's book carefully. Such study will allow him to avoid many mistakes ─ and more positively, will guide him to solutions. This is a significant accomplishment by one of the leading scholars of workplace democracy.”
-- Prof. Jaroslav Vanek, Director, Cornell Program in Participation & Labor-Managed Systems

By seeking the causes of failure and success in more than 50 companies that had attempted democratic management – both worker-owned co-ops and others, across 15 different countries – Dr. Bernstein discovered six components to be essential for the long-term success of workplace democracy. The absence of any one of those components eventually led to the decay of democracy, leaving companies with a conventional, top-down management process – even if they had retained a formal democratic structure.

The book describes those six essential components in depth, and shows how each one depends upon the others to function effectively (somewhat as the human body can’t survive without any one of its essential "vital organs").

Yet because each of your companies has its own unique qualities, the good news is also that each essential component can occur in variety of forms – so you can tailor them to suit the particular needs of your own, evolving situation.

About the Author
Paul Bernstein received his Ph.D. in Political Science from Stanford University and taught at the University of California, the New School for Democratic Management, and Boston College. He has consulted to the National Consumer Cooperative Bank, the US Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration, the National Center for Economic Alternatives, California’s Department of Transportation, and European participatory organizations.

He also has written about democracy for the Boston Globe, National Public Radio, The Progressive, Working Papers for a New Society, and the World of Work Report.




". . . a terribly important and well-done piece of work. Its conceptualizing can short-cut a lot of ill-guided plodding that researchers on democratization are doing, or are about to start."
     -- Prof. J. Richard Hackman, Yale University School of Management

". . . fascinating. It is well-done and, from my own observations, it is sound."
     -- Prof Richard E. Walton, Harvard University School of Business

"Unlike most contributions in this area, Bernstein's work is not narrowly confined to the experience of one or a few societies, but is broadly comparative. Further, his analysis is not doctrinaire or ideological, but empirical and analytic."
     -- Prof W. Richard Scott, Stanford University Department of Sociology

". . . an important work. It examines what appears to be an increasingly important issue and contributes considerable insight. It is well-written, especially the way cases are used to inductively derive a model. [Thus] in addition to its content, the book is very useful in illustrating a sophisticated use of case or clinical data in theory-building. On balance, ... an important scholarly contribution."
     -- Prof James G. Hunt, College of Business Administration

". . . a very scholarly and innovative treatment of workplace democratization, and an excellent source of ideas and possibilities for research."
     -- Prof. George England, Industrial Relations Center, University of Minnesota