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Matthew Flinders, Matthew Wood and Jack Corbett

This chapter offers a critical analysis of current research on anti-politics and links to forms of democratic innovation. We find that ‘anti-politics’ remains a ‘contested’ concept, which to some extent reflects a lack of analytical depth and thinking within the field. We define ‘anti-politics’ as a set of complex and paradoxical sentiments that reject the very basis of liberal representative democratic culture, as it currently functions. We argue anti-politics provides a more significant challenge to democracy than is commonly acknowledged. We develop a fourfold framework that maps onto existing research and dissects specific forms of anti-politics. We show how particular forms of anti-politics challenge basic democratic ‘goods’ supposedly assured by innovative forms of democratic governance. We conclude that without careful consideration, democratic innovations may be little more than cosmetic, tokenistic responses and ultimately prove counter-productive to a far deeper socio-political challenge.

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Geoffrey Wood and Matthew M.C. Allen

The business systems approach seeks to explain why and how economic activities are carried out in different ways in different economies. It seeks to explain, in short, patterns of economic coordination and firms’ attendant capabilities. In order to explain this outcome, the business systems framework focuses not only on external and governance dimensions, but also practices within two broad categories: delegation (employee involvement and participation) and interdependence between employers and employees (employees’ security of tenure and firms’ investment in people). The approach establishes a useful analytical template for applied comparative analysis to identify the institutional causes of variation in intra-organizational practices. The business approach, therefore, draws attention to fundamental firm variation, unlike many perspectives in business and management that tend to emphasize firm homogeneity, and the impact of that variation on important outcomes for firms, employees and societies.

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Jeffery S. McMullen, Matthew S. Wood and Leslie E. Palich