Workplace Democracy Literature List

Democracy to Come was devised as a website to disseminate information about how we might move towards achieving more democracy at work. During my travels it has struck me how far the world of academia (what scholars are producing about their studies exploring workplace democracy) are detached from the world of practice (what practitioners and consultants of workplace democracy actually read and then do). In my experience, the lack of connection between these groups is, in part, due to a lack of access to the work of academics rather than a lack of willingness to read or potentially learn from it. With this in mind, I thought it only sensible that I spend a bit of time uploading the academic articles and books that I have used throughout my project so that they can be accessed by all. It is, after all, rather odd if we as believers in collectivist ideals and sharing do not make an effort to bring our resources together so that we can learn and develop our community more effectively. For now, I have organized the (119) articles and books I have used throughout the past few years that relate predominantly to workplace democracy. If you click the title of the article or book it should open either a version of the publication (if freely available – 99% of the time there is something) or take you to a place to read more about it. I may, in the future divide them up in to “arguments for workplace democracy”, “critiques of workplace democracy” etc, and there is a dropbox at the end of the article containing freely available PDFs in list-form, but for now they are there A-Z as a menagerie of delights for any workplace democracy enthusiast. So, I hope you enjoy exploring them and do feel free to suggest others to add to the list in the comments. I am bound to have missed very obvious (and less obvious!) examples which could help readers to understand workplace democracy in its various forms. So do send me examples and I will simply add them to the evolving list…and more importantly read them myself!

Atzeni, M. (Ed) (2012) Alternative Work Organizations, Palgrave: London.

Barker JR. (1993) Tightening the Iron Cage: Concertive Control in Self-Managing Teams. Administrative Science Quarterly 38(3): 408-437.

Barros, M., & Michaud, V. (2020). Worlds, words, and spaces of resistance: Democracy and social media in consumer co-ops. Organization, 27 (4), 578–612.

Barros, M. (2010). Emancipatory Management: The Contradiction Between Practice and Discourse. Journal of Management Inquiry, 19(2), 166-184.

Barthold, C., Checchi, M., Imas, M. and Smolović Jones, O. (2022). Dissensual  leadership: Rethinking democratic leadership with Jacques Rancière. Organization, 29(4): 673-691.

Battilana, J., Yen, J., Ferreras, I. & Ramarajan, L. (2022). Democratizing Work: Redistributing power in organizations for a democratic and sustainable future. Organization Theory, 3:1-21.

Bernstein, P. (1976). Necessary elements for effective worker participation in decision making. Journal of Economic Issues, 10(2), 490-522.

Black, J. S., & Gregersen, H. B. (1997). Participative Decision-Making: An Integration of Multiple Dimensions. Human Relations, 50(7), 859-878.

Bousalham, Y., & Vidaillet, B. (2018). Contradiction, circumvention and instrumentalization of noble values: How competition undermines the potential of alternatives. Organization, 25(3), 401-427.

Bowles, S., & Gintis, H. (1986). Democracy and capitalism: Property, Community and the contradictions of modern social thought. New York: Basic Books.

Breen, K. (2018). Freedom, republicanism, and workplace democracy. In Exploring Republican Freedom (pp. 122-138). Routledge.

Bretos, I., & Errasti, A. (2017). Challenges and opportunities for the regeneration of multinational worker cooperatives: Lessons from the mondragon corporation—a case study of the fagor ederlan group. Organization, 24(2), 154-173.

Bretos, I., Errasti, A., & Marcuello, C. (2019). Is there life after degeneration? the organizational life cycle of cooperatives under a “grow or die” dichotomy. Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, doi:10.1111/apce.12258

Brown. L. (1989) Locus of control and degree of organizational democracy, Economic and Industrial Democracy, 10: 467-498.

Buck J and Villines S. (2007) We the People: Consenting to a Deeper Democracy, A Guide to Sociocratic Principles and Methods. Sociocracy. info Press. ISBN.

Budd, J., Gollan, P. and Wilkinson, A. (2010) Special Issue: New approaches to employee voice and participation in organizations, Human Relations, 63(3).

Butcher, D., & Clarke, M. (2002). The cornerstone for organizational democracy. Organizational Dynamics, 31(1), 35-46.

Carter, N. (2006) Political Participation and the Workplace: The Spillover Thesis Revisited, 8: 410-426.

Chartier, G. (2010). Pirate Constitutions and Workplace DemocracyJRE18, 449.

Cheney G, Santa Cruz I, Peredo AM and Nazareno E (2014) Worker cooperatives as an organizational alternative: Challenges, achievements and promise in business governance and ownership. Organization 21(5): 591–603.

Cheney, G. (2005). Democracy at work within the market: Reconsidering the potential. Worker participation: Current research and future trends (pp. 179-203) Emerald Group Publishing Limited. doi:10.1016/S0277-2833(06)16007-0

Collins, D. (1997). The ethical superiority and inevitability of participatory management as an organizational system. Organization Science, 8(5), 489-507.

Collom, E. (2000). Worker control: The bases of women’s support. Economic and Industrial Democracy, 21, 211-235.

Collom, E. (2001). Clarifying the cross-class support for workplace democracy. Berkeley Journal of Sociology, 45, 71-98.

Cornforth, Chris (1995). Patterns of Cooperative Management: Beyond the Degeneration Thesis. Economic and Industrial Democracy, vol. 16, no 4, p. 487-523.

Cornforth, C., Thomas, A., Lewis, R., & Spear, R. (1988). Developing successful workingco-operatives. Sage, London

Dahlman, S., du Plessis, E. M., Husted, E., & Just, S. N. (2022). EXPRESS: Alternativity as freedom: Exploring tactics of emergence in alternative forms of organizing. Human Relations, 0(ja), 00187267221080124

Dahl, R.A. (2001). A right to workplace democracy? A response to Robert Mayer. Review of Politics, 63, 249-253.

Dahl, R.A. (1985). A preface to economic democracy. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Danford, A., Richardson, M., Stewart, P., Tailby, S. and Upchurch, M. (2005) Workplace Partnership and Employee Voice in the UK: Comparative Case Studies of Union Strategy and Worker Experience, Economic and Industrial Democracy, 26: 593-620.

Daskalaki, M. (2018). Alternative organizing in times of crisis: Resistance assemblages and socio- spatial solidarity. European Urban and Regional Studies, 25(2), 155–170.

Diefenbach T (2020) The democratic organisation: Democracy and the future of work. London: Routledge.

Diefenbach T. (2019) Why Michels’ ‘iron law of oligarchy’ is not an iron law – and how democratic organisations can stay ‘oligarchy-free’. Organization Studies 40(4): 545–562.

Dodge, J., & Ospina, S. M. (2016). Nonprofits as “schools of democracy” a comparative case study of two environmental organizations. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 45(3), 478-499.

Du Plessis, E. M. du, & Husted, E. (2022). Five Challenges for Prefiguration Research: A Sympathetic Polemic. In The Future is Now (pp. 217–229). Bristol University Press.

Eidlin, B., & Uetricht, M. (2018, January). The Problem of Workplace Democracy. In New Labor Forum (Vol. 27, No. 1, pp. 70-79). Sage CA: Los Angeles, CA: SAGE Publications.

Errasti, A., Bretos, I., & Nunez, A. (2017). The viability of cooperatives: The fall of the mondragon cooperative fagor. Review of Radical Political Economics, 49(2), 181-197.

Fantasia, R., Clawson, D., & Graham, G. (1988). A critical view of worker participation in American industry. Work and Occupations, 15(4), 468-488.

Foley, J. and Polanyi, M. (2006) Workplace Democracy: Why Bother?, Economic and Industrial Democracy, 27(1): 173-191.

Fotaki, M., & Foroughi, H. (2022). Extinction Rebellion: Green activism and the fantasy of leaderlessness in a decentralized movement. Leadership, 18(2), 224–246.

Freeman J (2013[1972]) The tyranny of structurelessness. Women’s Studies Quarterly 41(3): 231–246.

Frega, R. (2020). Against analogy: why analogical arguments in support of workplace democracy must necessarily failDemocratic Theory7(1), 1-26.

Gerlsbeck, F., & Herzog, L. (2020). The epistemic potentials of workplace democracy. Review of Social Economy78(3), 307-330.

González-Ricoy, I. (2014). The republican case for workplace democracy. Social theory and practice, 232-254.

Grady, R.C. (1990). Workplace democracy and possessive Individualism. Journal of Politics, 52(1), 146-166.

Griffin M, Learmonth M and Elliott C. (2015) Non-domination, contestation and freedom: The contribution of Philip Pettit to learning and democracy in organisations. Management Learning 46(3): 317-336.

Griffin, M., King, D. R., & Reedy, P. (2022). Learning to “Live the Paradox” in a Democratic Organization: A Deliberative Approach to Paradox Mindsets. Academy of Management  Learning & Education, 0(ja), null.

Harrison, J. S., & Freeman, R. E. (2004). Is organizational democracy worth the effort? The Academy of Management Executive, 18(3), 49-53

Hatcher, T. (2007) Workplace Democracy: A Review of Literature and Implications for Human Resource Development, Masters thesis.

Hernandez, S. (2006). Striving for control: Democracy and oligarchy at a mexican cooperative. Economic and Industrial Democracy, 27(1), 105-135.

Hirst, P. 2002. Renewing democracy through associations. Political Quarterly, 73 (4): 409-421.

Hirvonen, O., & Breen, K. (2020). Recognitive arguments for workplace democracy. Constellations: An International Journal of Critical and Democratic Theory27(4).

Husted, E. (2021). Alternative organization and neo-normative control: Notes on a British town council. Culture and Organization, 27(2), 132–151.

Iannello KP (1992) Decisions without hierarchy: Feminist interventions in organization theory and practice. New York: Routledge.

Jaumier S (2017) Preventing chiefs from being chiefs: An ethnography of a co-operative sheet-metal factory. Organization 24(2): 218–239.

Just, S. N., De Cock, C., & Schaefer, S. M. (2021). From antagonists to allies? Exploring the critical performativity of alternative organization. Culture and Organization, 27(2), 89–97.

Jirjahn, U., Mohrenweiser, J., & Backes-Gellner, U.. 2011. Works councils and learning: On the dynamic dimension of codetermination. Kyklos, 64 (3): 427–447.

Johnson, P. (2006) Whence Democracy? A review and critique of the conceptual dimensions and implications of the business case for organizational democracy, Organization, 13(2), 245-274.

Kerr, J. (2004) The Limits of Organizational Democracy, The Academy of Management Executive (1993-2005), 18(3), 81-97.

King D and Land C. (2018) The democratic rejection of democracy: Performative failure and the limits of critical performativity in an organizational change project. Human Relations 71(11): 1535-1557.

King, D., & Griffin, M. (2019). Nonprofits as schools for democracy: The justifications for organizational democracy within nonprofit organizations. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 48(5), 910–930.

King, D. (2015). The possibilities and perils of critical performativity: Learning from four case studies. Scandinavian Journal of Management, 31(2), 255–265.

Knudsen, H., Busck, O. and Lind, J. (2011) Work Environment Quality: The Role of Workplace Participation and Democracy, Work, Employment and Society, 25:379-396.

Kociatkiewicz, J., Kostera, M., & Parker, M. (2021). The possibility of disalienated work: Being at home in alternative organizations. Human Relations, 74(7), 933–957.

Kokkinidis, G. (2015). Spaces of possibilities: Workers’ self-management in Greece. Organization, 22(6), 847–871.

Krüger, A. (2023). Islands of deliberative capacity in an ocean of authoritarian control? The deliberative potential of self-organised teams in firms. Business Ethics Quarterly, 33(1): 67–101.

Landemore, H., & Ferreras, I. (2015). In Defense of Workplace Democracy: Towards a Justification of the Firm–State Analogy. Political Theory, 44(1), 53–81.

Langmead, K. (2016). Challenging the degeneration thesis: The role of democracy in worker cooperatives?. Journal of Entrepreneurial and Organizational Diversity5(1), 79-98.

Lee, M.Y., & Edmondson, A.C. (2017) Self managing organizations: exploring the limits of less hierarchical organizing, Research in Organizational Behavior 37: 35–58.

Luhman, J.T. (2006). Theoretical postulations on organization democracy. Journal of Management Inquiry, 15(2), 168-185.

Maller, J. (1994). Worker participation and trade unionism: Case studies of workplace democracy in South Africa. Economic and Industrial Democracy, 15 (2), 241-258.

Malleson, T. (2013) Making the case for workplace democracy: Exit and Voice as mechanism of freedom in social life, Polity, forthcoming.

Malleson, T. (2014) After Occupy: Economic Democracy for the 21st Century, New York: Oxford University Press.

Malman, S. (2001). After capitalism: From managerialism to workplace democracy. New York: Alfred A. Knopf

Mason, R.M. (1982). Participatory and workplace democracy: A theoretical development in critique of liberalism. Carbondale, Ill: Southern Illinois University Press.

Mayer, R. (2001). Robert Dahl and the right to workplace democracyThe Review of Politics63(2), 221-247.

Mayer, R. (2000). Is there a moral right to workplace democracy?. Social theory and practice26(2), 301-325.

Moriarty, J. (2007). McMahon on workplace democracy. Journal of business ethics71, 339-345.

Moriarty, J. (2010) Participation in the workplace: Are Employees special? Journal of Business Ethics, 92: 373-384.

Pagano, U. and Rowthorn, R. (1996) Democracy and Efficiency in the Economic Enterprise, Routledge: London.

Paranque, B., & Willmott, H. (2014). Cooperatives—saviours or gravediggers of capitalism? Critical performativity and the John Lewis Partnership. Organization, 21(5), 604–625.

Park, Rhokeun (2019). Responses to emotional exhaustion: do worker cooperatives matter?” Personnel Review, vol. 48, no 2, p. 438-453.

Parker, M., Cheney, G., Fournier, V., & Land, C. (2014). The question of organization: A manifesto for alternatives. Ephemera: Theory and Politics in Organization, 14(4), 623–638.

Parker, M., Fournier, V., & Reedy, P. (2008). The Dictionary of Alternatives: Utopianism and Organization. Bloomsbury Publishing.

Parker, S., & Parker, M. (2017). Antagonism, accommodation and agonism in Critical Management Studies: Alternative organizations as allies. Human Relations, 70(11), 1366–1387.

Pateman, C. (1970). Participation and democratic theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Pek S (2021) Drawing Out Democracy: The Role of Sortition in Preventing and Overcoming Organizational Degeneration in Worker-Owned Firms. Journal of Management Inquiry 30(2): 193-206.

Pierce, J., Neeley, G. and Buziak, J. (2008) Can Deliberative Democracy work in Hierarchical Organizations? Journal of Public Deliberation, 4(1): 14.

Polletta, F. (2012). Freedom Is an Endless Meeting: Democracy in American Social Movements. In  Freedom Is an Endless Meeting. University of Chicago Press.

Ramsey, H. (1980) Phantom participation: patterns of power and conflict, Industrial Relations, 11(3), 46-59.

Reedy, P., King, D., & Coupland, C. (2016). Organizing for individuation: Alternative organizing, politics and new identities. Organization Studies, 37(11), 1553–1573.

Reinecke, J. (2018). Social movements and prefigurative organizing: Confronting entrenched  inequalities in Occupy London. Organization Studies, 39(9), 1299–1321.

Romme, A. Georges L., and Gerard Endenburg. “Construction principles and design rules in the case of circular design.” Organization science 17.2 (2006): 287-297.

Romme, A. G. L. (1999). Domination, self-determination and circular organizingOrganization Studies20(5), 801-832.

Romme, A. G. L. (1995). The sociocratic model of organizingStrategic Change4(4), 209-215.

Romme, A. George (1997). Work, authority and participation: the scenario of circular organizing.  Journal of Organizational Change Management10(2), 156-166.

Romme, G. (1996). Making organizational learning work: Consent and double linking between circlesEuropean Management Journal14(1), 69-75.

Rothschild-Whitt, J. (1979). The collectivist organization: An alternative to rational-bureaucratic models. American Sociological Review, 509–527.

Rothschild J (2018) Creating Participatory Democratic Decision-Making in Local Organizations. In: Cnaan R and Milofsky C (eds) Handbook of Community Movements and Local Organizations in the 21st Century.

Rothschild-Whitt J (1976) Conditions Facilitating Participatory-Democratic Organizations. Sociological Inquiry 46(2): 75–86.

Rousseau, D. and Rivero, A. (2003) Democracy, a Way of Organizing in a Knowledge Economy, Journal of Management Inquiry, 12: 115-134.

Sagie, A. and Koslowski, M. (2000) Participation and Empowerment in Organizations: Modeling Effectiveness and Applications, Thousand Oaks: California.

Schweizer, S. (1995) Participation, Workplace Democracy, and the Problem of Representative Government, Polity, 27(3), 359-377.

Semler, R. (1989) Managing without Managers, Harvard Business Review, Sep-Oct, 1-10.

Semler, R. (2001) Maverick, Random House: New York.

Shanahan, G. (2022). “No decision is permanent!”: Achieving democratic revisability in alternative organizations through the affordances of new information and communication technologies. Human Relations, 0(0),

Skelley, D. (1989) Workplace Democracy and OD: Philosophical and Practical Connections, Public Administration Quarterly, 13(2), 176-195.

Sobering K (2019) Watercooler Democracy: Rumors and Transparency in a Cooperative Workplace. Work and Occupations 46(4): 411-440.

Soetens, A., & Huybrechts, B. (2022). Resisting the Tide: The Roles of Ideology in Sustaining Alternative Organizing at a Self-managed Cooperative. Journal of Management Inquiry, 0(0), 10564926211070429.

Storey, John, Imanol Basterretxea and Graeme Salaman (2014). Managing and resisting ‘degeneration’ in employee-owned businesses: A comparative study of two large retailers in Spain and the United Kingdom. Organization, vol. 21, no 5, p. 626-644.

Stohl, C. and Cheney, G. (2001) Participatory Processes/Paradoxical Practices: Communication and the Dilemmas of Organizational Democracy, Management Communication Quarterly, 14: 349- 407.

Street, J. (1983) Socialist Arguments for Industrial Democracy, Economic and Industrial Democracy, 4: 519-539.

Timming, A. R. (2015). The ‘reach’of employee participation in decision‐making: exploring the Aristotelian roots of workplace democracy. Human Resource Management Journal25(3), 382-396.

Turner, L. (1991). Democracy at work: Changing world markets and the future of labor unions. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. 

Viggiani, F.A. (1997). Democratic hierarchies in the workplace: Structural dilemmas and organizational action. Economic and Industrial Democracy, 18, 231-260.

Walters, J. D. T. (2021). On the efficiency objection to workplace democracyEthical Theory and Moral Practice24(3), 803-815.

Wisman, J. (1998) The Ignored Question of Workplace Democracy in Political Discourse, Empowerment in Organizations, 6(8): 149-164.

Wolff, R. (2013) Democracy at Work: A Cure for Capitalism, Haymarket Books.

Yeoman, R. (2014). Meaningful work and workplace democracy: A philosophy of work and a politics of meaningfulness. Springer.

Hopefully you enoyed exploring these articles that give a huge insight in to what is actually going on within democratic organizations. I have also enabled a dropbox of PDFs of freely available versions of these articles here. I hope they are helpful in furthering understanding about the possibilities and challenges of what it means to organize more democratically.

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