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Americans Want More Workplace Democracy
And specifically, more power over decision-making in the places they work
In brief: In an article published this month in the American Political Science Review, two political scientists find that Americans do, on balance, want workplace democracy, even after being told of its potential downsides.
The background: Frankly, political scientists haven’t written much workplace democracy since the 1980s and 1990s. To see an article in APSR, the most prestigious journal in political science, is an exciting development.
More detail: The authors ran surveys of Americans, in which they defined workplace democracy in three ways: having “workers on their corporate board, employee ownership programs, and direct election of management by 7, 10, and 5 percentage points.” A majority of respondents (though only by 5-10 percentage points) said they would prefer to work at more democratic workplaces.
Having controlled for things like salary, the authors conclude that what workers want is more decision-making power.
This seems to be true across party lines, though the idea of codetermination (having workers on boards) is less favored by Republicans.