A Comparative Analysis of Developments in Industrial Democracy



The purpose of this article is to analyze recent developments in industrial democracy (worker participation in management) in a comparative perspective. To give the article focus, the period from the mid-1980s onward is selected for analysis, and four countries (United States, Germany, United Kingdom, and Australia) are targeted for systematic examination. Developments in both indirect and direct participation are explained on the basis of elements in the models that we present. Three particularly strong conclusions emerge. First, there are clearly a number of common forces that have affected developments in each country, but the precise forms of participation that have emerged vary in many key respects. Second, organizational changes at the level of the firm appear to be particularly important in the recent period. And finally, the very complex patterns that are observable reinforce our theoretical arguments of the importance of a complex multivariate approach.