An Aristotelian Perspective
- New Horizons in Leadership Studies series
Chapter 7: Corporate Polities and Corporate Democracies
At present there is a wide consensus on liberal democracies as the most desirable among all diﬀerent political regimes. These are characterized by a commitment to liberal values, above all, to the rule of law, and the regular holding of free and fair elections among the members of the citizenry. Despite their limitations, liberal democracies are considered to come closest to the ideal of self-rule, through the wide participation of citizens in a government legitimized by their choice and consent. Within the realm of business and the economy, one ﬁnds an increasing demand for a corporate democracy to complement the political democracy of states (Gates, 1998). It is believed that giving employees an ownership stake would enhance their motivation and commitment to the ﬁrms in which they work, inexorably leading to improved corporate performance. Employee ownership and participation in the governance of companies would defuse many instances of labour–management conﬂict. It would also broaden the distribution of wealth (a lot more would be able to beneﬁt) and promote a more equitable distribution of the same: those who beneﬁt would do so more equally. All of these factors would provide for greater cohesion, not only in the corporation but in civil society as well. In the Politics, Aristotle presents us with two kinds of regimes wherein the many in a given constituency rule: democracies and polities (Pltcs, 1279a–b). We have democracies when the majority that governs pursues their own particular interests and, on the contrary,...
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