Company organization structures are not democratic by definition.
Who decide who will lead the Company?
Shouldn´t be a democratic vote (from all employs) better for popping up meritocracy?
Organization elections are still at stone age.
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Giovanni - I agree completely - in fact, there's a strong theoretical basis for giving subordinates voting rights over their bosses. I've written about this - it's too long to go into here, but you could read it at http://changethis.com/manifesto/show/19.BossDictator
This is an idea whose time has come!
I'd love to hear more about *how* you actually put a company on the path to democracy (even though, as you note, it's against the very nature of the corporation!). Some great examples: Whole Foods' three decades of experimentation around democratic capitalism--unprecedented autonomy and information in the front lines. You can check out Whole Foods' CEO John Mackey's videos and essays on his MIX Maverick page: http://www.managementexchange.com/users/john-mackey. Also, there's an organization dedicated to celebrating democracy in the workplace--lots of great examples of how this works in practice. It's called World Blu, and you can check out this year's list of the most democratic workplaces here: http://www.worldblu.com/
Some companies are moving in this direction. Gore & Associates, the folks who make GoreTex, puts a lot of weight on peer-ranking. Terri Kelly, Gore's CEO, writes in her first blog entry here on the MIX,
"In our company, we have found it very useful to adopt a peer ranking system. All associates get the opportunity to rank members of their team, including their leaders. They are asked to create a contribution list in rank order based on who they believe is making the greatest contribution to the success of the enterprise. This approach serves as an excellent form of “checks and balances” when it comes to who is truly recognized for their contributions as well as for overall leadership."
shouldn't the CEO "election" work like it works in the real democratic life?
i.e. sure, it can happen after the election the elected leader looses preferences but it doesn't mean the elected leader should leave to drive the country. Right?
As it is today in organizations, how high is the consensus inside Companies in your opinion?
In my view, less than 15-20% without knowing a-priori when the CEO mandate will expire.
You are right when you say "you can't make it 100% democratic". Yap, do you really think in our countries we have 100% democracy?
It's always a matter of rough approximation....but it works better then than the best dictatorship.
As they look like today, Companies are (at the best) monarchies with the king and his Court.
Russ Ackoff actually suggested how to implement democracy in organizations in one of his books and claimed that there's enough empirical evidence to show that his idea works.
Here's a thought: In a democracy, elected leaders never have a 100% approval rating. In fact, it's often hard to get even above the 50% mark. If your organization elected a CEO and then 50% of the people don't believe in him, what do you think will be the organization's level of performance? You can't make it 100% democratic, although you are probably on the right track.
Dear Chetan, Polly, David,
thanks for your valuable comment.
Chetan, your article is simply great. Risking to be fired I'm going to spread it in my Company :)
You got exactly the point.
On daily basis I face with incompetent managers followed by more incompetent sub-managers.
I wonder if the (bad) state of a lot of Companies nowadays dependes of such kind management.
Nevertheless, I think the Corporate Governance today is a totalitarism regime.
Social-wise is interesting to note we leave in a double life: the one where after long wars and battles we won the Democracy (and still we tend to a real Democracy) the other (the job-life) where we still leave in the Medieval era.
I wonder what can we do to introduce by below the Democracy in Organizations?
Is it right to replicate the model/history (revolution, battle, etc.) which brought us to Democracy in our Countries?
It would be interesting a debate on State, Corporate and Market...how to co-exist in a sustainable echo-system.
Thanks for y[our feedback! very appreciated.