Posted by: healingtheworkplace | April 16, 2011

Democracy at Work?


This is a good news story to start your weekend off. I recently received an update from WorldBlu, an organization that certifies and celebrates democratic workplaces around the world. Guess what? The number of demoncratic workplaces grows slowly each year. That’s cause for celebration!

Both for-profit and non-profit organizations from across the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the UK, India, the Netherlands, Denmark, Haiti and Malaysia made the Worldblu list of most democratic organizations in 2011.

 These industries include aerospace, technology, manufacturing, healthcare, telecommunications, retail, services and energy, ranging in size from five to over 80,000 employees and representing over $15 billion in combined annual revenue.

People around the world are fighting for democracy, for the right to be free and to have a voice in how their countries are led. I seem to remember reading somewhere that business will play a lead role in determining what kind of world we live in whether it be a democratic one or one in which dictators control our lives.

Of course businesses that decide to go this route are not just being altruistic. They also see a lot of benefits for their organizations.

So what is organizational democracy and how is it different from political democracy?

Organizational democracy is a system of organization that is based on freedom, instead of fear and control. It’s a way of designing organizations to amplify the possibilities of human potential — and the organization as a whole.

The concept of democracy comes from the Greek words “demos” and “kratein” which mean “the people rule”.

So the core of organizational democracy and political democracy is the same — allowing people to self-govern and determine their own destiny. What is different is the context — one is in the political arena, the other is in the realm of organizations.

The purpose of WorldBlu is to unleash human potential and inspire freedom by championing the growth of democratic organizations worldwide.

If you would like information about how to create a democratic workplace contact Worldblu.

What do you think? Is this a fad or is this a serious trend that will continue to grow?

Cheers, Lesley



  1. Seems like an interesting idea… could lead to greater employee satisfaction, but it could also lead to longer and more frequent meetings (eating into productive time or enjoyable procrastination time). It will be telling to see how this trend changes in the years ahead, especially if this much-hoped-for global economic recovery continues to be non-existant.

    By the way, you wrote “demoncratic” in the first paragraph. I thought it could be a fitting description too 🙂

    • Hi, You make some good points. In theory democracy at work leads to employee satisfaction and we could certainly use more of that. There have been a couple of employee surveys released this month which highlight growing employee dissatisfaction world-wide. But democracy is not a panacea and it takes commitment and hard work. I live in Canada where many people take democracy for granted. I understand the our federal governement is considering making voting in federal elections mandatory…but I digress. Demoncratic? Perhaps we’ve coined a new word?
      Take care and make sure you get out and vote in the next election.
      Cheers! Lesley

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