Democracy Without Empowerment: The Grand Vision and Demise of Yugoslav Self-Management
Management Decision, 40/8, 797-806
10 Pages Posted: 8 May 2016
Date Written: 2002
Under Josip Tito’s leadership, Yugoslavia broke away from Stalinistic central planning in 1948 and developed an economy-wide system of worker self-management. Its ideological focus was on leadership development and continuous learning among all employees, replacing owners and state bureaucracy with empowered workers at the helm of Yugoslav firms. Over time, the world’s largest experiment in empowerment went awry, however. A state-supported neo-Taylorism with a “thinking tank” and a separate “working tank,” evolved which represented little real empowerment. By the 1980s, self-management had become an impotent bureaucratic formality behind a democratic facade. The dynamics within the rise and fall of Yugoslav self-management provide lessons for understanding and managing empowerment efforts today.
Keywords: Empowerment, teams, autonomy, Yugoslavia, Eastern Europe, workplace learning, socialism
JEL Classification: P21, P26, P32
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation