Organisation theory and the ethics of participation

Journal of Business Ethics 21 (2-3):157 - 171 (1999)


An ethical evaluation of employee participation to decision-making has to be based, obviously, on a theory about ethics, but also on an understanding of the role and the impact of participation in the organisation. This paper aims at sketching different organisational paradigms, and analysing their normative prescriptions w.r.t. participation. It will appear that the recognition of the social nature of man and the acknowledgement of the existence of differentiated goals could enhance the positive outcomes of participation. Next, we will examine to what extent a systemic approach and a stakeholder concept of the firm can meet these requirements. The necessity of a global approach to participation will be emphasised. Consequently, we suggest in the last section of this paper that participation should be extended to the definition of a shared value horizon.

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