The article addresses the question of possibilities of democratizing institutional decision-making units which are characterized by autonomy from traditional political organs, and strong inner coordination. After having illustrated that in some cases public ownership takes such an institutional form, the article tries to answer the question of its democratic character through a review of several traditional theories of democracy. The conclusion of this review is that public enterprise institutions are undemocratic; this is not due to their public character but to their institutional structure. Consequently, it is argued that the democratic quality of institutional structures should not be judged by standards developed at other levels of analysis, i.e. the organizational or societal one. Therefore, an alternative approach to develop standards for the democratic character of the institutional or meso-level is presented.
|Economic and Industrial Democracy
|Published - Feb 1989