Firm Authority and Workplace Democracy: a Reply to Jacob and Neuhäuser
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Workplace democracy, which is attracting renewed political and philosophical interest, is often advocated on two intertwined views. The first is that the authority relation of employee to firm is akin to that of subject to state, such that reasons favoring democracy in the state likewise apply to the firm. The second is that, when democratic controls are absent in the workplace, employees are liable to objectionable forms of subordination by their bosses, who may then issue arbitrary directives on matters ranging from pay to the allocation of overtime and to relocation and promotion.
Daniel Jacob and Christian Neuhäuser (2018) have recently submitted these views to careful criticism in this journal.1Jacob and Neuhäuser (JN, for short) argue, on the one hand, that the parallel between firms and states is unwarranted. For, unlike managerial authority, state authority is final. The state grants firms their legal status and subjects their authority to its regulations, which citizens in...
I would like to thank Keith Breen, Jahel Queralt, and two anonymous reviewers of this journal for comments on a previous version of the article. Research for this article was completed under project PGC2018-095917-A-I00 on 'Justice at Work: A Normative Analysis of Nonstandard Forms of Work' funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation, and Universities.
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