Organizational Factors for Implementing E-Democracy in Organizations

Organizational Factors for Implementing E-Democracy in Organizations

Francisco Javier Forcadell (Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Spain)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-883-3.ch099
OnDemand PDF Download:
$37.50

Abstract

Organizational democracy is achieved when the organization applies the principles of democracy to design the way it operates, cultivating a workplace that enhances employee potential, achieving its business goals, and positively impacting the community (Worldblu, 2007). Thus, organizational democracy is both a mind-set and a system of principles practiced at all levels of a company as a coherent organizational system. Generally, organizational democracy refers to all efforts that, within an organization, seek to harmonize individual and collective goals. In order to reach this objective, it is necessary to design a series of practices included in the concept of democratic management. Democracy means that members of any organization or society participate in such an organization and government processes. Harrison and Freeman (2004) point out that “…any action, structure, or process that increases the power of a broader group of people to influence the decisions and activities of an organization can be considered a move toward democracy. In contrast, any action, structure, or process that works to concentrate decision power and management influence into the hands of one or a smaller group of people is a move away from democracy.” In addition, the main tenets of organizational democracy are (Cloke & Goldsmith, 2002): everyone is capable of actively participate in decision making that affects his or her work life; everyone is equally entitled to be heard and respected; everyone’s opinion counts equally; everyone is a leader in achieving goals; and everyone collaborating yields better results.
Chapter Preview
Top

Introduction

Organizational democracy is achieved when the organization applies the principles of democracy to design the way it operates, cultivating a workplace that enhances employee potential, achieving its business goals, and positively impacting the community (Worldblu, 2007). Thus, organizational democracy is both a mind-set and a system of principles practiced at all levels of a company as a coherent organizational system. Generally, organizational democracy refers to all efforts that, within an organization, seek to harmonize individual and collective goals. In order to reach this objective, it is necessary to design a series of practices included in the concept of democratic management. Democracy means that members of any organization or society participate in such an organization and government processes. Harrison and Freeman (2004) point out that “…any action, structure, or process that increases the power of a broader group of people to influence the decisions and activities of an organization can be considered a move toward democracy. In contrast, any action, structure, or process that works to concentrate decision power and management influence into the hands of one or a smaller group of people is a move away from democracy.” In addition, the main tenets of organizational democracy are (Cloke & Goldsmith, 2002): everyone is capable of actively participate in decision making that affects his or her work life; everyone is equally entitled to be heard and respected; everyone’s opinion counts equally; everyone is a leader in achieving goals; and everyone collaborating yields better results.

Democratic management is considered key to greater organizational effectiveness (Jarley, Fiorito, & Delaney, 1997) and is associated with increased employee involvement and satisfaction, increased stakeholder commitment, higher levels of innovation, and performance (Manville & Ober, 2003), it fosters value creation in the long term and makes economic, social, environmental, and individual objectives more compatible (Cloke & Goldsmith, 2002). Harrison and Freeman (2004) refer to the advantages of organizational democracy: it fosters commitment to the organization and purposeful behavior; enhances commitment to the final decisions made, which can aid in their implementation; increases the sense of responsibility of organizational outcomes; creates a more participatory climate overall, which may enhance innovation and change; makes employees more valuable to the organization; and it is the right thing to do, from a moral perspective. Nevertheless, organizational democracy can absorb time and other organizational resources, and bog down decisions, which may reduce efficiency (Harrison & Freeman, 2004). Although the arguments for organizational democracy may be mixed, more stakeholder participation in organizational governance can benefit both organizations and society. E-democracy can reduce some of the disadvantages of organizational democracy related, for example, to the reduction in time necessary to make democratic decisions.

ICT are essential for the implementation of e-democracy and e-HRM, but this is not the only component to bear in mind. Some organizational factors generating a democratic context must be considered in order to facilitate implementation success and its use. This article focuses on the organizational factors that enable an effective implementation of organizational democracy in organizations. This organizational democracy implies a trade-off for management, in terms of advantages and disadvantages. If we accept organizational democracy as a positive factor in the life of organizations, it is necessary to consider some organizational factors that enable their implementation. These factors work along with ICT in this kind of transformation into more democratic organizations.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Stakeholder: A party who affects, or can be affected by, the company’s actions.

Organizational Culture: The collection of relatively uniform and enduring values, beliefs, customs, and practices that are uniquely shared by an organization’s members and which are transmitted from one generation of employees to the next. Basically, organizational culture is the personality of the organization.

E-Democracy: Technological progress in communication media that provides employees with more information and more direct access to other employees than that which previously existed.

Corporate Social Responsibility: The obligation of organizations to take into consideration the interests of stakeholders and ecological considerations in all aspects of their operations. This obligation is seen to extend beyond their statutory obligation to comply with legislation.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book:
Reset