Platform Cooperativism: Democratically Run Digital Organizations

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  • Hi Mathias,
    As you know, intrigued by this and have two questions:

    Democratically run: people with natural leadership qualities/talents, how do they fit in?

    Distributes of profits based on participation. Since humans are unique individuals, with their unique living situations…what if someone is not able to participate a lot,due to valid reasons…is this taken into consideration?

    • Dear Patty
      Excellent questions. I think that the answers are today (not yet) intuitive to many as we are taught differently. Therefore, thank you so much for the opportunity to elucidate a bit.

      Real leaders have the desire to see others grow. They inspire through ethical behavior, humility, and service. For these leaders, democracy at the workplace is ideal, as they can influence through their knowledge, authentically won trust, and intrinsic motivation capacity. People who are unable or unwilling to be examples that people voluntarily follow, e.g., because they lack integrity, honesty, justice, and/or the desire to serve others are interested in dominating and controlling others and typically prefer a power system based on extrinsic values such as coercion, materialistic values, and rule-based privileges. I define leadership as an internal quality that is partly influenced by personality traits and partly by context such as education, and that can influence in the democratic process. Therefore, an egalitarian and cooperative system is supporting true leadership qualities; in contrast, individuals with underdeveloped leadership qualities feel the need to resort to competitive and authoritarian means that are helping to compensate their lack of natural authority. It should be obvious what “leadership” style results in better outcomes for the people. Generally, the more authoritarian the governments/organizations, the lower the quality of life/work for the majority of citizens/employees.

      It’s a good point you mention, and you already point to the answer. Yes, the level of participation can be considered if this is the democratic will of the membership. Ideal member (user, employee) benefitting solutions may depend on types of businesses and related platforms. In any case, today’s technology can be meaningfully used to implement such functionalities. If one contributes a lot (according to the given possibilities, etc.), one may get more economic participation too. What is value creating and what is less incentivized can be made transparent to the contributors in a fair way, while respecting privacy for individual measurements. Advances in such solutions are, as reported in this article, coming from examples like