44 Companies That Are Probably More Democratic Than Yours



Looking for the perfect place to work? You might want to start by looking at WorldBlu’s annual list of the most democratic workplaces–a roster that includes crowd favorites like Zappos, New Belgium Brewing Company, and Guayaki. Organizations are judged based on WorldBlu’s 10 principles of organization democracy, which include accountability, integrity, and transparency.

Some of the highlights from this year’s list:

  • Namaste Solar has five levels of democratic decision-making: individual co-owner (i.e. individuals can make their own decisions based on proven competencies), peer review, committees or teams, the entire company, and board of directors. The board of directors only gets involved on the rare occasion that an issue can’t be resolved in the first four levels. In a bold attempt at fairness, Namaste also makes sure that no employee earns more than twice what any other employee earns.
  • New York City’s Grammy-Winning Orpehus Chamber Orchestra doesn’t have a conductor–instead, orchestra members rotate into leadership roles.
  • The Link School, a high school in Buena Vista, Colorado, requires every member of the community–including faculty and students–to be on board with a decision before it moves forward. Student dissent against a potential new hire, for example, could completely stop the hiring process. The Link School is the first educational institution to make it onto WorldBlu’s List.

All of the companies on this year’s list practice open-book management, and some of them even offer salary transparency. Check out the full list of WorldBlu’s 44 most democratic organizations here.

[WorldBlu List 2010]

About the author

Ariel Schwartz is a Senior Editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine and more