Democracy Without Empowerment: The Grand Vision and Demise of Yugoslav Self-Management

Management Decision, 40/8, 797-806

10 Pages Posted: 8 May 2016

See all articles by Monty Lynn

Monty Lynn

Abilene Christian University

Matjaz Mulej

University of Maribor - Faculty of Economics & Business

Karin Jurse

City of Maribor

Date Written: 2002

Abstract

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

Lynn, Monty and Mulej, Matjaz and Jurse, Karin, Democracy Without Empowerment: The Grand Vision and Demise of Yugoslav Self-Management (2002). Management Decision, 40/8, 797-806, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2776710

Monty Lynn (Contact Author)

Abilene Christian University ( email )

ACU Box 29325
Abilene, TX 79699
United States
325-674-2593 (Phone)

Matjaz Mulej

University of Maribor - Faculty of Economics & Business ( email )

2000 Maribor
Maribor, 2000
Slovenia

Karin Jurse

City of Maribor ( email )

Maribor
Slovenia

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