I’ve been asked to give a speech and to write an article about principles for workplace democracy, for coworking as small villages, and would value your feedback/questions/suggestions. 6 principles are below, after 2 paragraphs of intro.
I think there are 4 categories of coworking places, and this might be helpful for one of the types, which I call ‘workplace democracies’; another way to define them are places where the ideal is to ‘work alongside other people, who are doing a variety of work.’ (the ideal for this type of coworking place isn’t to work in private offices, and the ideal for most members isn’t to work alongside ‘like-minded people’).
Are these all true requirements for democracies, or are some specific choices and not principles? Are they grouped in ways that make sense? Is more context needed? Does this define what “democracy” is? (Each could be rated on a scale of 1 to 5, where 5 is completely, 1 is not at all, 3 is somewhat, all the scores of the questions could be averaged, and then a country or business or relationship could be categorized by how much of a democracy it is or isn’t. I think the U.S. governance scores pretty low on this, and some workplace democracies and co-ops and coworking places score very high.)
Principles for Democracy:
- RESOURCES ORGANIZED BY THE DEMOCRACY’S MEMBERS: No individual has the right to inflict harm upon others or to destroy or lessen resources which should be available to all. The democracy is an autonomous, self-help organization responsible to its members. If they enter into agreements with other organizations, including governments, or raise capital from external sources, they do so on terms that ensure democratic responsibility to their members and maintain their autonomy.
- EQUAL TREATMENT: Everybody is treated the same when we’re here, with the same access to everything (unless it is delegated through a public process involving transparency and consent, such as fees for services or private ownership, a process that sets explicit, transparent, public limits on how things work and how people can participate; does not have implicit or hidden rules or processes for determining or excluding people or things).
- BEING GOOD HUMANS: People own responsibility for their actions, hold each other accountable and, if needed, confront with respect (how you’d like to be confronted).
- HAVING INITIATIVE: People ask for and/or make happen the things they very much want, in ways that are considerate of other people.
- GIVING CONTEXT: Decisions and limits that affect other people have accessible why’s and context. There are regular accessible check-ins on things that anyone likely very much cares about, and on democracy. Laws are publicly written down and understandable, along with other constraints on decisions that any person might very much want to know (finances, operations, governance processes, etc).
- PLURALITY: There is freedom of speech and association. There is freedom of travel and choice of residence, employment, and education.
Alex Linsker | Business Owner
(503) 517-6900 office | (503) 369-9174 mobile
322 NW Sixth Ave, Suite 200 | Portland, Oregon 97209