Has anyone performed an abstract analysis of management structures, almost like what game theory is to games?

And which management structure permits democratic elections, which is a political process, at each level? In other words, colleagues can vote out their boss and replace them with a different employee if they wish?

Do any companies have such a policy?

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    Welcome to Politics.SE! I'm afraid that this is a question about corporate structure, not politics.
    – F1Krazy
    Mar 25, 2022 at 13:20
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    The regulation of economical activity might be ontopic. For example, if the question would ask for regulation effort in this direction or governmental incentives in that direction. Unions for example are typically elected democratically and in some countries have politically sanctioned influence. Mar 25, 2022 at 14:25
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    Excellent Q for this site! I will VTR. I suggest to ask if this Q is ok on politics Politics Meta. This might help reopen this Q. Good luck, hope you get lots of good answers. I am curious myself. Mar 26, 2022 at 2:02
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    @TimurShtatland I don't see how it could be. My understanding is that corporate politics is not, and never has been, within the scope of this website. I'm confused as to why this question has four reopen votes when to me it seems to be blatantly off-topic.
    – F1Krazy
    Mar 26, 2022 at 9:58
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    I've consulted Meta and the consensus here seems to be that questions about corporate politics are, in fact, on-topic. I stand corrected.
    – F1Krazy
    Mar 26, 2022 at 12:10

1 Answer 1


Well, in capitalism it's owners not employees who decided on who is in charge of management. In some cases that involves voting, typically proportionate with shares, although it's seldom a vote with multiple candidates standing simultaneously. More like yes/no, and if "no" another candidate is sought.

On the other hand, if owners coincide with workers as in cooperatives (which were more common in socialist states), then you might have "colleagues" elect their boss as in was seemingly done in kolkhoz at one point, although how real were those elections, I can't really say.

Some cooperatives also exist in the USA. I'm not sure what typical organization of those is today, but one government document from the 1940s describes it as

The members elect a board of directors which employs a manager and makes other arrangements for providing service. The manager is responsible for running the business, subject to the direction and review of the board of directors, which, in turn, is accountable to the membership of the cooperatives.

The annual membership meeting plays a very important part in a cooperative. At this meeting, not only are the directors chosen, but broad policies are laid down to guide directors and manager. Most cooperatives provide that members who cannot attend the meeting may vote by mail on specific questions referred to them to advance, but most co-ops do not permit “proxy voting.” This is the practice, common in ordinary business corporations, of allowing an owner of voting stock to assign the votes belonging to his shares to somebody else for casting. In a cooperative, a member generally has only one vote, no matter how many shares of the co-op’s stock he may hold.

So I guess that's somewhat closer to what you're asking, except the management is not directly elected, but through a board. On the other hand, the "one vote per person" is indeed somewhat different from other corporations.

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    You misunderstand what a cooperative is. Of course they are more likely to exist in a Socialist economy, but in the Soviet Union most factory managers were hand picked by the party, the same happen in most dictatorship that claimed to be socialist, on the other hand there are a lot of cooperatives in many capitalist countries, so they do not depend on the type of government.
    – FluidCode
    Mar 26, 2022 at 14:26
  • @FluidCode: I don't think I misunderstand. You seem unware that besides state-owned enterprises, like the sovkhoz (in agriculture), there were also kolkhoz cooperatives, which (in theory) were freely entered into. (And in reality there was a lot of coercion.) But nominally those elected their managers, as I read. Mar 26, 2022 at 14:36
  • "I don't think I misunderstand." You keep misunderstanding. Kolkhoz are just a part of the total economy. At the same time in many capitalist countries you can find a part of the total economy produced by cooperatives, you cannot turn an example into a rule.
    – FluidCode
    Mar 26, 2022 at 14:40
  • "If owners coincide with workers as in cooperatives (which were more common in socialist states)," There are lots of worker owned businesses in capitalist states. For example, most law firms and accounting firms and medical offices and closely held companies are owned by the core workers in the enterprise. Until the 21st century so were almost all investment banks. Also, most taxi companies and in the U.S., most plywood companies.
    – ohwilleke
    Aug 24, 2022 at 5:56
  • I think your definition of capitalism is too narrow. For example, Germany has a market economy coupled with codetermination policy. Since workers get to elect representatives onto board of directors, does this mean Germany does not have capitalism according to your definition? Capitalism just means private ownership - that your property is protected by law from being arbitrarily taken from you, it doesn't mean shareholders are exclusively in charge of management. Aug 24, 2022 at 7:39

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