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Democracy without empowerment: the grand vision and demise of Yugoslav self‐management

Monty L. Lynn (College of Business Administration, Abilene Christian University, Abilene, Texas, USA)
Matjaz Mulej (School of Business and Economics (EPF), University of Maribor, Maribor, Republic of Slovenia)
Karin Jurse (Office of Economics, City Management of Maribor, Maribor, Republic of Slovenia)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Article publication date: 1 October 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.



Lynn, M.L., Mulej, M. and Jurse, K. (2002), "Democracy without empowerment: the grand vision and demise of Yugoslav self‐management", Management Decision, Vol. 40 No. 8, pp. 797-806.




Copyright © 2002, MCB UP Limited

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