Workplace Democracy for the 21st Century

Broadbent Institute

In this discussion paper, we make the case for a renewed national dialogue on workplace democracy. Though the term may sound better suited to an academic/policy conference from the 1970s, in plain terms workplace democracy actually speaks to an ever-present need: i.e., advancing the fundamental rights of employees to associate freely and to have some say over decisions that affect their lives in the workplace. By expanding employee voice, as a country, we can also generate positive spillovers that enhance job satisfaction, raise productivity and increase civic participation. These benefits improve the lives of workers, increase the bottom lines for firms and enrich society as a whole. These are also ideas, it should be noted, that lie at the heart of industrial relations scholarship going back more than a century and which we draw from in this discussion paper.


  • Juan Gomez
  • Rafael Gomez

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