Scandanavian Participatory Design

"Democracy in the US stops at the office door" (Einhorn & Logue 1982)

1) Democracy at work as an ideal:
Basis: all humans should participate equally in decisions concerning their lives
Freedom from constraints imposed by capital; freedom to formulate and initiate projects that further workplace democracy.
Issues include: worker's choice of tools, pace of work, organization of work, changes in technology, product range, economic goals.

2) Features of the Scandanavian countries that aid Participatory Design
Highly educated workforce
High level of unionization
Leading political parties are "social democratic" with strong union ties
Legal system with strong support for trade union/employer relations
Generally positive attitude toward technology

3) Legal system examples (mainly 1970s)
Norway: employees can elect 1/3 of the members of company board of directors
trade unions can appoint "data shop stewards"
Sweden: Company boards will include labor representatives
Joint Regulation Act requires negotiation with union when introducing new technology

4) Participatory design examples
DEMOS (Sweden 1975; industrial democracy and computing)
ISA KLAR in locomotive repair: (a) get tools #1 and #2, (b) go to carriage position #6, (d) remove cotter pin #7...etc.
DEMOS: most productivity loss was searching for tools and parts; increasing skill, job rotation, and flexibility increased productivity; work team self management.
UTOPIA (Sweden 1981; Nordic graphic workers union)
Attempt to create computer graphics based on traditional craft skills.