Tools for Democratization

Conditions in many parts of the world are ripe for some form of industrial democracy. If we, as managers, miss this opportunity, then polarization between management and workers can and will cause us ever greater harm. I believe that if we are not prepared to openly challenge the present political system, then the least we can do is to vigorously pursue active participation in the promotion of a pragmatic industrial democracy by using some of the tools for democratization listed below.

Consultation and information-sharing

The process of forging understanding of what our businesses are all about is of paramount importance. Not only do we have a need to communicate with our employees, we have an obligation to do so, and our unions should recognize this. No better way exists to build trust and respect than through consultation and communication. If we make no attempt to promote the concepts of industrial democracy, we have not even tried to change the climate of distrust with its accompanying apathy. Respect can only be earned if, in our deliberations, we allow the other man to save face by asking him or her for an opinion rather than simply giving him an order to execute.

Harnessing the collective talent in our companies will only be achievable if we have frequent problem-solving meetings and workshops, focusing on specific issues of the day; for example, improvement of sales, customer service, or increases in profitability. No longer can these aspects be ...

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