Reforming or revolutionizing the capitalist enterprise: The French debate on industrial democracy


  • Aubert Nicolas
  • Chapas Benjamin
  • Hollandts Xavier


  • Participative management
  • Self-management
  • Industrial democracy
  • Shared capitalism

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This paper focuses on the currents of thought that played a major role in the debate on industrial democracy in France and contributed to the design of the workers’ participation system in profits, ownership, and management. Different streams converged on the analysis of the nature of the company and came up with the conclusion that labor participation had to be developed. Social Catholicism and the “second left”, a non-marxist socialist political party that promoted self-management in the 1970s were the main movements that influenced the debate on labor participation. The debate on workers’ participation reached a climax in the 70s and is still going on dealing with the governance of the firm as a result of the conception of its nature.

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