Democracy & the learning organisation LO20639

Roy Benford (
Thu, 11 Feb 1999 20:16:35 +0000

Replying to LO20619 --

Richard S. Webster wrote:

> A request: would you please report the citation for Carol Gould's work.

"Rethinking Democracy - Freedom and social cooperation in politics,
economy, and society" by Carol C Gould published by Cambridge University
Press, 1988.

> As to LO - democracy linkages:
> NO WAY the high-involvement of company members, necessary for LO or any
> other element of "participative management" or "modern management," will
> occur without members feeling their work, culture and company governance
> is guided by the principles Gould uses.

But what if the organisation was a government agency. Would it not be
highly desirable that its governance processes were democratic? Are
Gould's principles no more than a statement of how these people work

> How do we know: look at high-performing companies and see how many are
> managed by democratic values and practices, vs. those that feature
> "top-down, KITA (backside), one-best-way, managers know best, "my way or
> the hi-way?"
> These coercive and exploitive management practices are the features of
> Frederick W. Taylor's "scientific management," dating from the 1890s.
> These practices have impeded the spread of "scientific method" (from
> Deming, Juran, and other quality gurus, with their call for
> "truth-seeking, hypothesis-testing, management-by-fact, use of SPC, use of
> the Shehart/Deming cycle of plan-do-check-act, PDCA) as a replacement for
> "scientific management."
> Taylor's work has also impeded the work of Douglas McGregor, Rensis Likert
> and other social scientists whose research discovered and confirmed
> improved performance and results when people were treated like human
> beings, consulted, involved in decisions that affected them -- the set of
> conditions that lead to high-performance including learning as a
> cornerstone of continual (not necessarily "continuous") improvement.

Could Taylor's work be seen as the origins of the paradigm "Manager get
work done". Since, this list involves a number of different cultures,
dare I raise the question of exportability of management theories as Geert
Hofstede does in his paper "Cultural Constraints in Management Theories"
published in Academy of Management Executive, 1993 Vol.7.No.1. Pages

Roy Benford
Fulmer, UK


Roy Benford <>

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Rethinking Democracy : Freedom and Social Co-Operation in Politics, Economy and Society ~ Usually ships in 24 hours Carol C. Gould / Paperback / Published 1990


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