History of Industrial Democracy.

Essay by iv80University, Bachelor'sB, December 2003

download word file, 11 pages 3.3

1.Brief History of Industrial Democracy

During the late 19th and earlier 20th centuries industrial democracy was a concept integrated in the ideological element of the industrial and political development of labour movements throughout Europe. In essence and in practice it came about during and after the 2nd World War as a pragmatic and temporary organisational arrangement, which was only aiming to increase production.

After the 2nd World War most European countries needed to reconstruct their industrial relations system for economic recovery. Denmark, Belgium, Germany, France and the Netherlands, to aid economic reconstruction, introduced works councils as a means of reducing disputes and securing a co-operative effort between management and employees.

In the 1970s organisations, employees, and governments recognised the need to integrate workforce in the decision-making processes. The objective for the organisations to do so had two aspects. First they had to provide the workforce with meaningful and satisfactory work environment, thus adding a social function to the organisation.

The second aspect, mainly seen from the management point of view, was that they hoped, by integrating workforce in the decision-making, it would motivate efficiency and commitment to the organisation. The labour governments during that time supported these notions while favouring direct legislative intervention for more formalised and representative forms of employee participation.

The Bullock Committee of Inquiry on Industrial Democracy, 1975, and the subsequent White Paper established the most important legislative intervention in 1978, which founded the Joint Representation Committees. The JRC, an organisation of over 2,000 employees, could instigate a ballot of the employees to secure one-third of the employee representation on the board.

From 1979 on there was another shift. Government policies changed towards being non-supportive in participation, reducing the trade union power and deregulating the labour market. Organisations emphasised on strategic business needs, managerial objectives and...