51 organizations certified as ‘Democratic Workplaces’

WorldBlu, a company that helps organizations embrace workplace democracy, has certified 51 organizations as ‘democratic workplaces’ for 2013.

The 51 organizations are based in a number of countries, including the US, Canada, Mexico, the UK, Netherlands, Denmark, Malaysia, Haiti, New Zealand and Singapore.

Companies that have been certified by WorldBlu as democratic include Zappos.com, Menlo Innovations, New Belgium Brewery, DaVita, Groupon Malaysia and The WD-40 Company.

WorldBlu Founder and CEO Traci Fenton said, “People would rather work in freedom-centered rather than fear-based organizations.”

View the complete WorldBlu List of Most Democratic Workplaces™ 2013 and their unique democratic practices here — http://www.worldblu.com/awardee-profiles/2013.php.


Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer bans telecommuting

Despite the increasingly popular trend of working from home and flexible work schedules, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has taken her company a step back towards a rigid and inflexible work environment by banning telecommuting.

Yahoo human resources chief Jackie Reses wrote in a memo that “We need to be working side-by-side,” explaining about the importance of “decisions and insights” that can arise from impromptu meetings.

While we certainly don’t disagree with this, we think that employees should be treated like responsible adults and should be given the discretion to decide for themselves the optimal amount of time they should be physically spending at their office.

According to Mercury News, “Others said they saw hypocrisy by Mayer, who is both a new mother and a wealthy CEO — and who reportedly used her own funds to install a nursery next to her office, according to All Things D, which noted that other employees don’t have that option.”


2012 International Summit of Cooperatives in Quebec City

The 2012 International Summit of Cooperatives will take place on October 8 to 11 in Quebec City, Canada.

The summit will be focusing on cooperative-specific economic and financial issues such as the performance and evolution of the cooperative business model, the role of cooperatives in the global economy, and the global socio-political influence of cooperatives.

According to the International Co-operative Alliance, which is hosting the event, cooperatives employ over 100 million people and provide a source of income for half the world’s population.

The 300 largest cooperatives generate revenues of $1.6 trillion, which is equivalent to the world’s ninth largest economy.


The Equal Dignity Organization

Researcher Rune Kvist Olsen has submitted another research paper in which he introduces “The Equal Dignity Organizational Concept.”

The research paper can be accessed here.


Tom Sutcliffe on pro-democracy uprisings in the workplace

Tom Sutcliffe, a columnist at The Independent, makes an interesting comparison between the dictatorial conditions that people in the Middle East are currently protesting and the similar atmosphere which we westerners willingly work under work each day.

Sutcliffe mentions that “it seems odd that people will endure, within the framework of a firm or an institution, a degree of subjection and speechlessness that would strike them as insufferable at the level of citizenship.”

He concludes by hinting that “office tyrannies” might end up becoming the target of mass uprisings not unlike those that we have been witnessing in the Middle East.

Read the entire column at The Independent


Zynga CEO Mark Pincus on “making everyone the CEO of something”

In an interview with Fast Company, Mark Pincus discussed the meaning of his philosophy of “making everyone the CEO of something.”  Pincus is founder and CEO of Zynga, a popular online gaming company whose products include FarmVille and Mafia Wars.

Here is how the Zynga CEO explained his “making everyone the CEO of something” democratic management philosophy:

When I entered the workforce, I was frustrated. When you’re starting your career, somebody else is “The Man” or “The Woman.” They go into a room and make the decision, not you. You don’t feel empowered. I wanted to break through that. I wanted to push the ownership and decision making to the people who were closest to the features, problems, and opportunities and empower them to go for it, to take risks and make mistakes.

Not everybody has a lot of real management training. One way to get around strong or weak managers is clear lines of ownership. If you have clear goals and people know they own them, it makes up for a lot. No one likes to be given a list of tasks. You want to know what hill you’re supposed to take and the fun is figuring out how.


Apple falters because of Steve Jobs top-down management style

Apple Inc. has been receiving a lot of negative publicity about the iPhone 4’s antenna reception problems following the device’s launch on June 24.

In a surprising development, the Wall Street Journal reported that “Apple engineers were aware of the risks associated with the new antenna design as early as a year ago, but Chief Executive Steve Jobs liked the design so much that Apple went ahead with its development, said another person familiar with the matter.”

Steve Jobs has been described as a cruel and manipulative manager who, as Forbes reported, “periodically reduces subordinates to tears, and fires employees in angry tantrums,” and Apple is known for its top-down, hierarchical structure.

It’s hard to imagine problems like this, which were previously known within the organization but not solved because employees feared or were intimidated by the CEO, occurring at decentralized, democratically-run companies.


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