Taking Part, Contributing, Benefiting: Toward a Democratic Model of Employee Participation

  • Benjamin Chapas Institute of Sustainable Business and Organizations, Confluence: Sciences et humanités (EA 1598), Université catholique de Lyon (UCLy), ESDES Business School, Lyon, France; and Institut de recherche pour l’économie politique de l’entreprise (IREPE), Grenoble, France
Keywords: Employee participation, Corporate governance, Work experience, Democracy


Employee participation has long been a central challenge facing the management and governance of any company. It is considered a success factor for companies, as well as an important condition for employee empowerment and emancipation. However, most scholarship in this field tends to position employee participation as a simple add-on policy, rather than a reconceptualization of the collective work environment that can enable the convergence of individual needs and the common good. The challenge, therefore, is to better value the capacity of employees to manage their work environment in a collective and responsible manner. Our goal in this essay is to address this challenge by sketching a political perspective on employee participation. We rely on Zask’s work on contributive democracy in this regard. We begin by discussing some of the limitations of the dominant approach to employee participation, especially financial participation. We then present the three different dimensions of participation highlighted by Zask to show how all three taken together can constitute a promising model of social control and self-government by employees. We conclude with a discussion of the theoretical and managerial implications of this model.


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How to Cite
Chapas B. (2023). Taking Part, Contributing, Benefiting: Toward a Democratic Model of Employee Participation. M@n@gement. https://doi.org/10.37725/mgmt.2023.7869
Original Research Articles