Democracy in the Workplace Day

Didja know today is Democracy in the Workplace Day?

'Tis true. It's a day to celebrate companies that are run democratically and are built around principles like transparency, decentralization, accountability, and choice.

And in the spirit of the day, my friend Traci over at WorldBlu announced the results of their search for the List of Most Democratic Workplaces (full disclosure: I am on WorldBlu's advisory board.)

34 companies from the US, Canada, Russia, and Holland made the list, including Great Harvest Bread Company, GE Aviation’s Durham Engine Facility, Honest Tea, 1-800-GOT-JUNK, Linden Labs, the conductor-less Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Threadless, and Zaadz.

Some of the practices from companies on the list are awesome (paraphrasing the press release):

  • At Linden Labs, key financial data is openly shared in real-time on giant flat-screen TVs, employees are encouraged to chose their own work rather than be told by someone else what to do, and they show their appreciation for one another by “sending love” through their “Love Machine” software (more on their democratic culture on their blog)
  • The Grammy-award winning Orpheus Chamber Orchestra in NYC is completely conductorless, rotating leadership amongst orchestra members.
  • At Equal Exchange, the employee-owners elect their Board of Directors and hold six of the nine seats.
  • GE Aviation’s Durham Engine Facility is flat, with just one Plant Manager for 260 employees.

I haven't written much about democracy in the workplace here yet, but I believe that we are about to see some significant change in the way businesses are organized and run. Counterproductive hierarchy and fascism in business are remnants of the industrial age. It's companies like those on the list that are riding technological advances and cultural change to build agile, fun, and profitable businesses that will thrive in the democratic age.

If you're interested in learning more about democratic workplaces, head over to Worldblu and check the list of Democratic Workplaces!

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Comments (Post | Latest)

1. Kent Schnake said on Mar 17 2007:

Thanks for your comment on my blog. I came across the worldblu info why sullenly crusing the web after being chewed out by my manager for daring to post an intracorporate blog that suggested that the corporation I work for had lost sight of some of its founders basic principles. Hewlett and Packard did not exactly build a business that would have made the worldblu list. But for two guys who started an electronics firm in 1939, they were remarkably prescient about the trends you are seeing. I am hoping that you are right and that it is the beginning of something big! Many, many thanks to those of you making Worldblu happen. I am a 33 year survivor of the current system (about to retire) and I have seen much that needs changing.

2. Kent Schnake said on Mar 17 2007:

Ha! Just read your chronology and realized you were born three years after I started work for HP. That also means you became a 30 something less than three weeks ago. Hurray. I get a bit lonely on parts of the web as a 56 year old :-) And I grew up when Abbie Hoffman (I think) coined the phrase "Don't trust anyone over thirty". Can I trust you?

About

Hi, I'm Kareem Mayan. I co-founded eduFire, an online video tutoring company.

I've done time at ESPN and FIM.

I advise WorldBlu, helping them build democratic companies.

I moderated a council for Creative Good.

And, I helped bring Barcamp, a technology un-conference, to LA, which is where I live. I am now living and working in cool cities around the world.

More about me.

Opinions stated here are mine alone.

Contact: blog -at- reemer

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