Upset democracy: the paradoxes of developing worker participation in challenging environments
18 октября 2020 года
19:07
Upset democracy: the paradoxes of developing worker participation in challenging environments
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Title: Upset democracy: the paradoxes of developing worker participation in challenging environments
Author, co-author: Soetens, Aurélie
Abstract: In this dissertation, my ambition is to offer a better understanding of the development of democratic enterprises. I focus on ways to develop and maintain worker participation in challenging environments. To do so, I investigate three democratic enterprises operating in different contexts: Venezuela, Belgium and Chile. First, I examine what are the structure and meaning of participation, and who are the individuals who give its form and content to participation (i.e., the ‘architects’ of participation). Second, I review the strategies that these ‘architects’ deploy to develop and sustain participation, in relation to their perceptions of the organisation’s environment. Third, I discuss the unintended consequences and contradictions resulting from their attempts to create an alternative reality within the organisation’s boundaries.
Among others, the findings help advance an understanding of participation not only as a specific management and governance practice, but also as a cognitive, relational, perceptual, and political phenomenon. Analysing the development of democratic enterprises in terms of paradoxes helps grasping their inherently complex, contingent, and imperfect nature. The case studies show that, as the ‘architects’ of participation will try to advance their own agenda within an organisation that brings together individuals with different perceptions, and in order to ensure the perpetuation of their democratic project, they may develop practices of coercion, authority, and exclusion, despite initial ambitions to achieve democracy, equality, and freedom. This study, therefore, reveals how politics and power relations, but also the values, emotions, and perceptions of the workforce, shape interactions between individuals, organisations, and their environments. Finally, it depicts prefiguration as a struggle and a process, wherein a balance should constantly be found between utopian ideals and social reality.

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Upset democracy: the paradoxes of developing worker participation in challenging environments
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[en] La démocratie contrariée : les paradoxes du développement de la participation des travailleurs dans des environnements contraignants
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[en] In this dissertation, my ambition is to offer a better understanding of the development of democratic enterprises. I focus on ways to develop and maintain worker participation in challenging environments. To do so, I investigate three democratic enterprises operating in different contexts: Venezuela, Belgium and Chile. First, I examine what are the structure and meaning of participation, and who are the individuals who give its form and content to participation (i.e., the ‘architects’ of participation). Second, I review the strategies that these ‘architects’ deploy to develop and sustain participation, in relation to their perceptions of the organisation’s environment. Third, I discuss the unintended consequences and contradictions resulting from their attempts to create an alternative reality within the organisation’s boundaries.
Among others, the findings help advance an understanding of participation not only as a specific management and governance practice, but also as a cognitive, relational, perceptual, and political phenomenon. Analysing the development of democratic enterprises in terms of paradoxes helps grasping their inherently complex, contingent, and imperfect nature. The case studies show that, as the ‘architects’ of participation will try to advance their own agenda within an organisation that brings together individuals with different perceptions, and in order to ensure the perpetuation of their democratic project, they may develop practices of coercion, authority, and exclusion, despite initial ambitions to achieve democracy, equality, and freedom. This study, therefore, reveals how politics and power relations, but also the values, emotions, and perceptions of the workforce, shape interactions between individuals, organisations, and their environments. Finally, it depicts prefiguration as a struggle and a process, wherein a balance should constantly be found between utopian ideals and social reality.
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Автоматическая система мониторинга и отбора информации
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