The Elgar Companion to Social Economics, Second Edition
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The Elgar Companion to Social Economics, Second Edition

Edited by John B. Davis and Wilfred Dolfsma

Social economics is a dynamic and growing field that emphasizes the key roles social values play in the economy and economic life. This second edition of the Elgar Companion to Social Economics revises all chapters from the first edition, and adds important new chapters to reflect the expansion and development of social economics. The expert contributions explain a wide range of recent developments across different subject areas and topics in the field, mapping out possible directions of future social economic research. Social economics treats the economy and economics as embedded in a web of social and ethical relationships. It considers economics and ethics as essentially connected, and adds values such as justice, fairness, dignity, well-being, freedom, and equality to the standard emphasis on efficiency. This book will be a leading resource and guide to social economics for many years to come.
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Chapter 24: Workplace democracy: current state and future directions of the literature

Michael D. Carr and Philip Mellizo


The literature on workplace democracy takes as its starting point the proposition that the management and governance structure of a firm greatly influences economic performance of the firm, either by unlocking or thwarting the release of knowledge and effort of firm members that could lead to everything from productivity-enhancing innovations or the increase in social capital within the enterprise to a greater sense of group and personal identity. Indeed, the potential for positive social, political and psychological effects of workplace democracy motivate rich swaths of the literature written on the topic. The present review hints at some of these dimensions, though we focus on presenting the literature on outcome variables traditionally considered and studied by economists. In the following, we first discuss the varied definitions of workplace democracy used by researchers in this field, then turn to the more recent theoretical literature on workplace democracy, followed by the empirical literature that both derives from and motivates the theoretical work. We conclude with a discussion of the limitations of the existing research and what can be done to start to fill these gaps.

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