Foreword by Dr. Andreas Zeuch

Dr Andreas Zeuch

I had met Dominic first via Twitter and then via Xing. In the course of our dialogue, we had begun to discuss the current and pressing topic of “New Work”. In this context, Dominic had my last book, “All Power for No One. Departure of the Business Democrats” read and today he publishes the review here. In order for us all to succeed with the challenges of a social transformation towards greater participation in the world of work, we need close cooperation and an ongoing dialogue on the risks and opportunities of democratic work design. Today’s review is a step in this direction, which I fully support and which, of course, I am pleased with. Dear readers, enjoy the following review.

Dr. Andreas Zeuch (*1968) accompanies companies on the way to greater participation and corporate democracy as a consultant, trainer and speaker. In addition to his books, Zeuch has published around 70 articles in specialist journals to date.

Democracy in companies?

“In our private lives, it is the rule to shape our own lives. On the other hand, most companies have become accustomed to giving up their own thinking and acting at the gate.” This is how the teaser for the book: All Power for Nobody by Dr. Andreas Zeuch begins. But what are the benefits of corporate democracy? Now that a first article has examined the feasibility of democracy in companies, the potential of democracy is to be addressed. To this end, I have identified the publications of Dr. Andreas Zeuch and give a brief insight into his reflections.

Companies are challenged!

Why are companies required? What new events are asking us to include approaches such as democracy and co in our deliberations? Zeuch sees the environment of companies, which is much more dynamic and complex than ever, as motivation for the idea of corporate democracy. Secondly, it cites Generation Y’s claims to employers. This means that, according to Zeuch, the following challenges arise:

  • Decisions must be made faster and more directly
  • Innovations determine future viability
  • Leadership must create a framework in which inner motivation can develop freely.
  • Participation and participation must be given in companies

Companies to have a say!

Zeuch complains that formal hierarchies do not make decisions where they are needed. In his book, Zeuch also asserts that decisions in democratic companies are faster and better. He therefore claims that a democratic decision is even quicker, thereby indenting a prejudice against democracy. His reasoning is as follows: Although it takes longer to find this decision, in contrast to a formal decision, it does not have to be communicated in a complex manner and all parties involved must be “picked up and convinced”. Zeuch makes it clear that implementing joint decisions is more efficient and effective than lonely topdown decisions.

He also criticizes formal innovation management and “command and control” mechanisms. According to Zeuch, this is how many ideas arise where employees are allowed to develop new ideas and perform prototyping on their own, at least up to a certain budget. Bureaucratized corporations solve the dilemma of innovation by either buying or exploring start-ups.

But if employees are constantly told what to do and what to leave, it will not promote their creativity or the will to bring in new ideas in the long run (Andreas Zeuch).

Does corporate democracy make companies more agile?

In summary, Zeuch sees the following problem: “Often there is also a lack of confidence, instead there is a climate of mistrust, control and punishment”. Enterprise democracy is therefore intended to change precisely this dilemma. He wants to involve employees directly in the company through democracy and sees this as a way to outsource the management of the company directly to the contact areas between the market and customers.

The more people involved in decisions, the more perspectives flow (Andreas Zeuch)

But when are companies actually democratic? How democratic must a company be in order to achieve the effects already mentioned? Zeuch divides democratic enterprises into 3 degrees of maturity.
Companies that allow operational decisions, i.e. their own work, to be determined by the workforce are weakly democratic.
Moderately democratic are companies that let them have a say in tactical decisions. These are decisions that go beyond your own workspace and have a wider reach, such as hiring.
Companies are highly democratic when, in addition to operational and tactical, strategic decisions, i.e. the fundamental, existential questions, are co-determined by the employees.

Thus, the possible effects occur with increasing democratization. Zeuch limits that democracy does not automatically mean the end of hierarchy and leadership. There may therefore be leaders who have been elected by the workforce on a temporary date. On this point, I have had a brief dialogue with Andreas Zeuch and he makes it clear that there MUST be leadership and that hierarchies automatically adjust when trying to abolish them. His key message is the distinction between formal-fixed hierarchies and dynamic leadership. On the other hand, leadership elections are just one game, according to Zeuch. There may also be rotating systems, or employees can propose themselves as managers, and are then accepted – but do not always have to be formally elected.

Overall, Andreas Zeuch’s considerations and arguments promote the agile principles of research by modern and future-oriented companies. The core of the book is many case studies and interviews on the topic of corporate democracy. It therefore shows that Zeuch’s considerations can be applied and that companies can offer added value. In addition to the roundtables, a bachelor’s thesis on this topicis currently also underway.

Genderhinweis: Ich habe zur leichteren Lesbarkeit die männliche Form verwendet. Sofern keine explizite Unterscheidung getroffen wird, sind daher stets sowohl Frauen, Diverse als auch Männer sowie Menschen jeder Herkunft und Nation gemeint. Lesen Sie mehr dazu.

Falls es noch Fragen gibt, können Sie mich gerne anrufen. Hierzu einfach im Buchungssystem nach einen freien Termin schauen. Ich nehme mir jeden Monat einige Stunden Zeit um mit Lesern zu interagieren.

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Verwendete Quellen anzeigen

Zeuch, Andreas. (2015). All power for no one. Departure of the business Democrats. Hamburg: Murmann Publishers GmbH


I blog about the impact of digitalization on our working environment. For this purpose, I present content from science in a practical way and show helpful tips from my everyday work. I am a manager in an SME myself and I wrote my doctoral thesis at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg at the chair of IT Management.

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