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WORKERS’ PARTICIPATION IN A FORMER LABOUR-MANAGED ECONOMY: THE CASE OF SERBIAN TRANSITION

Bozidar Cerovic (), Jan Svejnar () and Milica Uvalić

Economic Annals, 2015, vol. 60, issue 205, 7 - 30

Abstract: It is well known that Serbia – along with the other Southeast European successor states of former Yugoslavia – emerged from a country recognized for its specific labour-managed institutional arrangement. The paper recalls the main premises of the literature on the labour-managed firm and the theoretical contributions on participatory forms of management that seem most relevant to a transition economy like Serbia’s. It proceeds to analyze the main changes that occurred in Serbia during transition to a market economy, illustrating some of its specific features and how privatization led to the conversion of workers self-management into property rights. In order to analyze the role of employees in decisionmaking, and more generally their current position in privatized and newly established private firms, a survey was undertaken in 2013 based on a questionnaire for managers in 69 Serbian firms. The survey suggests that internal relations in enterprises are relatively undeveloped, particularly regarding the distribution of responsibilities in decision making at various organisational levels, hampering the efficient fulfilment of firms’ objectives. It appears that decision-making processes are usually designed in such a way as to give an excessive role to the owner as the exclusive decision-maker. The position of workers seems to be particularly poor regarding their rights to be informed, to make proposals, and/or to participate in decision-making in general. Moreover, even traditional workers’ rights are neglected (unionization, collective bargaining etc.). The survey also suggests that in those firms with a more active role of workers, there is a higher degree of workers’ satisfaction and loyalty to the firm.

Keywords: Workers’ participation; Transition; Serbian economy; Workers’ rights; Workers’ satisfaction and loyalty (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J54 J83 O52 P31 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015
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