Workshop 2018/2019

Working Futures

Imagining Alternatives: Corporate Governance and Workers' Voice

23.–24. Mai 2019


Corporate governance and workers’ voice are core issues to current debates about the future of the firm, its nature and purpose. Since the nineteenth century, theories and practices of corporate governance evolved with changing modes of worker integration into the firm, from Taylorism to financial management through toyotism. It is therefore crucial that these theories and practices be placed in their historical context and that we question the specific categories which underlie them. The workshop will address the role of economic, political and scientific actors in the production of theories and concepts of corporate governance as well as examining the operationalization of such concepts in legal systems and corporate practices. Special attention will also be given to their reinvention through experimentation with new forms of governance and participation.

The speakers have been invited to discuss these issues in relation to four main questions:

-Which actors are associated with past and current discussions about the forms of governance and employee participation? In which arenas do these debates take place? What are the issues at stake?

-Which categories are core to these debates in different national contexts? Does it make a difference to speak of voice, employee/worker participation, Beteiligung or Mitbestimmung? About corporate governance or gouvernement de l’entreprise? How did these categories emerge and in which disciplinary/historical contexts are they anchored?

-What visions of the firm’s future are underlying these debates?

-To what extent is the emergence of different models of participation and governance linked to national, local or global settings with respect to democracy and labor relations?


Workshop report (H-Soz-Kult)








Permanent Fellow

Bénédicte Zimmermann

Professorin der Soziologie



Corina Pertschi


Tel. +49 30 89001 158