by: Manville, Brook; Ober, Josiah
Source: Harvard Business Review
We live in a knowledge economy. The core assets of the modern business enterprise aren't its buildings, machinery, and real estate, but the intelligence, understanding, skills, and experience of its employees. Harnessing the capabilities and commitment of knowledge workers is arguably the central managerial challenge of our time. Unfortunately, it is a challenge that has not yet been met. Corporate ownership structures, governance systems, and incentive programs--despite the enlightened rhetoric of business leaders--remain firmly planted in the industrial age. In this article, the authors draw on history to lay out a model for a democratic business organization suited to the knowledge economy. The Athenian model of organizational democracy offers a window into how sizable groups of people can, in an atmosphere of dignity and trust, successfully govern themselves without resorting to a stifling bureaucracy. Such a system provides the synthesis of individual initiative and common cause that today's companies need to achieve if they're to realize the full power of their people and thrive in the knowledge economy.
Link: Beyond Empowerment: Building a Company of Citizens
Publication Date: 2003-01-01