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May 1984, Vol. 107, No. 5
made in the U.S.A.
According to industrial relations expert Milton Derber, participatory management programs, shop committee plans, works councils, and similar employer-employee cooperative efforts can be classified as "industrial democracy."1 There was a proliferation of such programs in the 1970's, spawning a plethora of books, articles, and pamphlets which dissected the concepts and drew philosophical guidelines for their implementation and expected results. Some publications cite these experiments as unique or novel, but as Sanford Jacoby of the university of California at Los Angeles management school noted, the common presumption that these are new solutions to lagging productivity is wrong.2 "The hand of the past," said historian Richard B. Morris, "is still writ large in . . . the labor relations of this country, and the early concepts and procedures often forecast the shape of things to come."3
Assuming that quality-of-worklife program have two common threads, the quality of employees' work experiences and the improvement of organizational effectiveness, one finds the roots of industrial democracy in the United States, not in Germany or Japan, with certain appendages of the idea grafted from Great Britain.4
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1 Milton Derber, The American Idea of Industrial Democracy: 1865-1965 (Urbana, University Illinois Press, 1970), pp. 4-6.
2 Sanford Jacoby, "Union Management Cooperation: Past, Present, and Future," Working Paper No. 44 (Los Angeles, UCLA Institute of Industrial Relations, July 1982), p.1; and Thomas Kochan, Daniel J.B. Mitchell, and Lee Dryer, eds., Industrial Relations Research in the 1970s: Review & Appraisal (Madison, Wis., Industrial Relations Research Association, 1982).
3 Richard B. Morris, Government and Labor in Early America (New York, Columbia University Press, 1946), p. viii.
4 Robert Chisolm, "Quality of Working Life: Critical Issues for the 80s," Public Productivity Review, March 1983, pp. 101-12; and Robert Irving, "Is America Turning it Around in Quality?" Iron Age, July 22, 1983, pp. 40-41.
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