Capitalism is everywhere. I'm not against making money, but I am against making money at the cost of everything else. I am all for economic sustainability, but also for social sustainability and environmental responsibility.
I've been thinking lately about ideas for a "democratic" company. The management of a conventional corporation does not particularly resemble "democracy", since the workers inside the company can hardly exert influence over a company's actions, unless they organise themselves in some kind of demonstration or strike. It's a mainly hierarchical decision making policy that operates top-down, not bottom-up like some companies wish to portray themselves.
Such a company should still identify leaders and make responsibilities clear, plus give people with responsibilities the autonomy to act under that responsibility. For instance, project leaders could become 100% responsible for work and re-organise the people within the project, but forums, votes and news-casts can be used to allow people to make decisions for policy-making inside the company itself ( aligned to mission and goals ), which is more about the identity and culture of a company than anything else.
Consider a new social experiment: - Computer professionals working "away". There are some challenges to face here:
- How to define and show the "culture" of the company
- Quickly find consensus and defining ways of dealing with conflict
- Fair payrolling around the globe (different holidays, economies, work laws)
- Ensuring that people work for the hours they claim (discipline and ethics)
- Feeling of belonging to the company and feeling connected
- Social isolation (from perspective of work)
- Maintaining projects on budget and time
- Ensuring fair work (deal with the voluntary work-aholic)
- Regular meetings and making sure these are held with people present
- Dealing with confidential information
The benefits here for the worker are very clear. But the benefits for a customer are not yet clear. Motivation is one and tapping into a global network is another. What kind of services however can be developed in this network that are difficult to organize in a conventional corporation and will it be worth the effort?