The Company Democracy Model
Creating Innovative Democratic Work Cultures for
Effective Organizational Knowledge-Based Management and Leadership
By Evangelos Markopoulos & Hannu Vanharanta
Copyright Year 2022
Through the allegory of the cave, Plato teaches that people stay imprisoned in darkness and can't see reality with their own eyes. In Plato's allegory, the human senses perceive the real world through the images on the cave wall, which are the shadows of reality. Plato's other world, the World of Ideas, consists of an ideal form of tangible things and abstract concepts. That is to say, when opening people's eyes to the multi-variety of different forms and ideas, we arrive at the modern notion of degree, where all the ontologies and models of reality contain several constructs, concepts, and thoughts. This belief follows the Aristotelian thinking that everything is part and parcel of the ultimate ideal of goodness. The totality of goodness describes well, for us humans, how to behave in the viable, dynamic living system in which we live. To convert this problem formulation, i.e., "opening people's eyes" to modern business management and leadership, we have to operate with a real human workforce, with business investments and many-faceted business constructs, concepts, and variables. These business characteristics, traits, and features are not so clearly defined and often without sharp boundaries. They can be perceived and understood as degrees of past, current, and future business situations and activities.
Using Plato's worldview, words, and sayings and applying the worldview of other philosophers (cf. Pythagoras, Gautama, Sokrates, Aristotle, Zeno, Bacon, Descartes, Pascal, Locke, Leibniz, Berkley, Voltaire, Hume, Rousseau, Kant, Burke, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard, Marx, James, Russel, Ortega y Gasset, Wittgenstein, Heidegger, Popper, Sartre, Berlin, Rawls, Habermans, and Derrida), we end up with human-centric thinking. Therefore, our aphorism for the business world starts naturally from individuals, humans, people, and the workforce. Thus, we have to focus first on working people and understand how it is possible to tap the full potential of their intellectual capital in the business context (i.e., their capacity, skills, ability, capability, competence, past and current experience, knowledge, and wisdom) by stating:
"Business is a Prisoner of Money - Release Business to People"
Our aphorism means that we have to challenge the whole workforce by giving them opportunities, possibilities, and priority to think freely. People have to develop companies together to create added value activities through products and services and promote growth, profitability, productivity, and overall performance: first those of the company they are working for and then ultimately, those of the society to which they belong. This book has used many philosophical views on business to release business to people and give people more room to think about their company's ultimate purpose and goal.
The world is changing in leaps and bounds to become more marketing-oriented, and simultaneously, more human-focused. Governmental systems in many countries accept markets as the determinants of current and future change, but they are also allowing more and more individual human decision-making and participation. This recent trend means that companies have to develop in this direction. We have to understand that the democratic way, as it has already existed for hundreds of years, might be the right and convenient solution in the new company context if it is applied to create added value and shared added value for societies.
Now we are ready to present our ideas of the Company Democracy Model, in which philosophy is the first supporting science. Our book's starting point is to develop the two essential dimensions of business, i.e., management and leadership. The content of the book supports the ideas of many philosophers, and we, therefore, call this management and leadership approach:
"The Applied Philosophy of Management and Leadership"
For this reason, this approach has a scientific background and nature, i.e., Episteme. It also contains other scientific areas to create new understanding, knowledge, and wisdom in the business context. Applied Philosophy shows us in many ways how important it is to use gathered theoretical knowledge, i.e., Sophia. It also shows the technocratic way, i.e., Techne, to use modern methods and tools to identify current and future business and business situations. Applied Philosophy brings us down to earth by showing the practical side, i.e., Phronesis, through many lenses, and gives us possibilities to grasp in new ways how to approach management and leadership issues in collaboration with the workforce. All the areas of our management and leadership approach help to perceive, understand and boost the basic principles of the Company Democracy Model.
The book describes the model from academic, industry, trade, governmental, and practical perspectives. Its background lies in the wisdom of the ancient-Hellenic Delphic maxims, primarily on 'Gnothi Seauton: Know Thyself,' 'Metron Ariston: Moderation is best,' and 'Miden Agan: Nothing in excess.' The model consists of a framework in which an evolutionary, organizational, spiral approach supports and maintains the creation and execution of knowledge-based democratic cultures for effective corporate knowledge-based management and leadership. The co-evolutionary spiral methodology and processes in the model contribute toward identifying and achieving the capacity, capability, competence, maturity, and wisdom needed to turn information, data, and knowledge into insights and innovations. In this context, the spiral process is based on the degree of democracy in organizations. The Company Democracy Model is complemented by the Co-Evolute Approach and its different applications. These organizational development tools support creating a strong corporate knowledge-based culture for management and leadership purposes. These methods' main idea is to evolve the organization by transforming tacit organizational business knowledge into explicit knowledge and wisdom.
In a broad context, the Company Democracy Model is a technique and methodology for creating business data, information, and knowledge, contributing to developing insights, ideas, and innovations, making it possible to achieve competitive advantage leading to extroversion and modern entrepreneurship. It is a model for managing and leading innovation work inside a company so that both individual and collective views of the innovation activity come to each participant's awareness. Data, information, and knowledge transformation thus flow actively into business processes and activities. The innovation engine of the company harnesses human intellectual assets.
The fundamental concept of our book lies in the metaphorization of the world around the human being. We use metaphors and ontologies from human and business activity's essential components in a democratic company context. One purpose of the symbolic and ontological structure is to facilitate a robust conceptual framework as the theoretical basis for a corporate strategy that promotes its continuous, sustainable, and democratic improvement. Another purpose is to enable people to find analogies for, clarify the differences between, and emphasize the importance of human-related and capital-related business issues in company development and the formation of shared value, added value, profitability, productivity, and performance. The third purpose is to use the basic metaphorical structure to generate a robust democratic design system inside the company to serve continuous business development and progress.
We hope that company members and readers will begin to think about themselves and their own business in a new democratic way. People should not let money talk only or too much, but help themselves to perceive, understand, and express their insights, ideas, and innovations so that they can be proud of being part of their own company. People should also be eager to improve their company's competitive position with many qualitative and quantitative business features and characteristics and show commitment, engagement, and motivation in their work. The Company Democracy Model presented in this book will enable and boost this evolution.
This book will give the readers new ideas on developing their company in a collective, modern, democratic manner.
"One Voice and Many Insights"
London, UK Helsinki, Finland
June 2021 June 2021
Evangelos Markopoulos Hannu Vanharanta
Other books by Dr. Evangelos Markopoulos.
2021, Advances in Creativity, Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Communication of Design
Proceedings of the AHFE 2021 Virtual Conferences on Creativity, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and Human Factors in Communication of Design, July 25-29, 2021, USA
2020, Advances in Creativity, Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Communication of Design
Proceedings of the AHFE 2020 Virtual Conferences on Creativity, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and Human Factors in Communication of Design, July 16-20, 2020, USA