Political Behavior

, Volume 30, Issue 1, pp 115–138 | Cite as

Does Workplace Experience Enhance Political Participation? A Critical Test of a Venerable Hypothesis

Original Paper

Abstract

Several schools of thought claim that citizens can develop their democratic skills at the workplace. Here I focus on the hypothesis put forward by Carole Pateman and by Sidney Verba and colleagues that state that by practicing civic skills and democratic decision-making at the workplace, citizens become more active in politics. I test the hypothesis with a nationally representative panel survey of the Swedish population. My findings contradict previous empirical research as no impact on political participation was discovered. I argue that the effects may have been overestimated in prior studies because the tests were based on cross-sectional data: insufficient care was taken with a number of significant methodological problems. The study points to the importance of using panel models when investigating the causes of political participation.

Keywords

Political participation Civic skills Workplace participation Participatory democracy Panel data Carole Pateman 

References

  1. Adman, Per (2004). Arbetslöshet, arbetsplatsdemokrati och politiskt deltagande. Ph.D. Thesis. Uppsala: Department of Government, Uppsala University.Google Scholar
  2. Adman, Per, & Strömblad, Per (2000). Resurser för politisk integration. Utanför demokratin? Del 3. Norrköping: Integrationsverkets rapportserie 2000, 16.Google Scholar
  3. Andersen, Kristi, & Cook, Elisabeth A. (1985). Women, work and political attitudes. American Journal of Political Science, 29, 606–625.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Arrighi, Barbara A., & Maume, David J. (1994). Workplace control and political participation. Sociological Focus, 27, 147–159.Google Scholar
  5. Ayala, Louis J. (2000). Trained for democracy: The differing effects of voluntary and involuntary organizations on political participation. Political Research Quarterly, 53, 99–115.Google Scholar
  6. Bäck, Hanna, Teorell, Jan, & Westholm, Anders (2004). Explaining modes of participation: An evaluation of alternative theoretical models. Paper presented at the ECPR Joint Sessions, Uppsala, 13–18 April.Google Scholar
  7. Beckwith, Karen (1986). American women and political participation: The impacts of work, generation, and feminism. New York: Greenwood Press.Google Scholar
  8. Bergqvist, Christina, & Adman, Per (forthcoming). Kön och politik. Stockholm: SNS.Google Scholar
  9. Boström, Bengt-Ove, Esaiasson, Peter, Krantz Lindgren, Petra, and Jodal, Ola (2001). Demokrativerkstaden: En vuxenversion i samarbete med Migrationsverket. Working paper. Gothenburg: Gothenburg University.Google Scholar
  10. Brady, Henry E., Verba, Sidney, & Schlozman, Kay Lehman (1995). Beyond SES: A resource model of political participation. American Political Science Review, 89, 271–294.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Brambor, Thomas, Clark, William Roberts, & Golder, Matt (2006). Understanding interaction models: Improving empirical analyses. Political Analysis, 14, 63–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Burn, Shawn M., & Konrad, Alison M. (1987). Political participation: A matter of community, stress, job autonomy, and contact by political organizations. Political Psychology, 8, 125–138.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Burns, Nancy, Schlozman, Kay Lehman, & Verba, Sidney (2001). The private roots of public action: Gender, equality, and political participation. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Claibourn, Michele P., & Martin, Paul S. (2000). Trusting and joining? An empirical test of the reciprocal nature of social capital. Political Behavior, 22, 267–291.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Cohen, Aaron, & Vigoda, Eran (1999). Politics and the workplace: An empirical examination of the relationship between political behavior and work outcomes. Public Productivity and Management Review, 22, 389–406.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Elden, J. Maxwell (1981). Political efficacy at work: The connection between more autonomous forms of workplace organization and a more participatory politics. American Political Science Review, 75, 43–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Esaiasson, Peter, & Westholm, Anders (2006). Deltagandets mekanismer. In Peter Esaiasson, & Anders Westholm (Eds.), Deltagandets mekanismer: Det politiska engagemangets orsaker och konsekvenser. Malmö: Liber.Google Scholar
  18. Finkel, Steven (1995). Causal analysis with panel data. Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
  19. Fritzell, Johan & Lundberg, Olle (Eds.) (1994). Vardagens villkor: Levnadsförhållanden i Sverige under tre decennier. Stockholm: Brombergs.Google Scholar
  20. Goul Andersen, Jørgen, & Hoff, Jens (2001). Democracy and citizenship in Scandinavia. New York: Palgrave.Google Scholar
  21. Greenberg, Edward S. (1986). Workplace democracy: The political effects of participation. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Greenberg, Edward S., Grunberg, Leon, & Daniel, Kelley (1996). Industrial work and political participation: Beyond ‘Simple Spillover’. Political Research Quarterly, 49, 287–304.Google Scholar
  23. Gujarati, Damodar N. (1995). Basic econometrics (3rd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  24. Inglehart, Ronald, & Norris, Pippa (2003). Rising tide: Gender equality and cultural change around the world. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Jaccard, James, Turrisi, Robert, & Wan, Choi K. (1990). Interaction effects in multiple regression. Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
  26. Jarl, Maria (2005). Making user-boards a school in democracy? Studying Swedish local governments. Scandinavian Political Studies, 28, 277–294.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Karasek, Robert A. Jr. (1976). The impact of the work environment on life outside the job. Stockholm: Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI).Google Scholar
  28. Markus, Gregory B. (1976). Analyzing panel data. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  29. Mason, Ronald M. (1982). Participatory and workplace democracy: A theoretical development in critique of liberalism. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press.Google Scholar
  30. Mutz, Diana C., & Mondak, Jeffery J. (2006). The workplace as a context for cross-cutting political discourse. The Journal of Politics, 68, 140–155.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Myrberg, Gunnar (2007). Medlemmar och medborgare: Föreningsdeltagande och politiskt engagemang i det etnifierade samhället. Ph.D. Thesis. Uppsala: Department of Government, Uppsala University.Google Scholar
  32. Parry, Geraint, Moyser, George, & Day, Neil (1992). Political participation and democracy in Britain. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  33. Pateman, Carole (1970). Participation and democratic theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  34. Pateman, Carole (1989). The disorder of women: Democracy, feminism and political theory. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  35. Peterson, Steven A. (1992). Workplace politicization and its political spillovers: A research note. Economic and Industrial Democracy, 13, 511–524.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Petersson, Olof, Westholm, Anders, & Blomberg, Göran (1989). Medborgarnas makt. Stockholm: Carlssons.Google Scholar
  37. Petersson, Olof, Hermansson, Jörgen, Micheletti, Michel, Teorell, Jan, & Westholm, Anders (1998). Demokrati och medborgarskap: Demokratirådets rapport 1998. Stockholm: SNS.Google Scholar
  38. Putnam, Robert D. (1993). Making democracy work: Civic traditions in modern Italy. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  39. Sapiro, Virginia (1983). The political integration of women: Roles, socialization, and politics. Chicago: University of Illinois Press.Google Scholar
  40. Schlozman, Kay Lehman, Burns, Nancy, & Verba, Sidney (1999). What happened at work today? A multistage model of gender, employment, and political participation. The Journal of Politics, 61, 29–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Schur, Lisa (2003). Employment and the creation of an active citizenry. British Journal of Industrial Relations, 41, 751–771.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Schweizer, Steven L. (1995). Participation, workplace democracy, and the problem of representative government. Polity, 27, 359–377.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Smith, Stephen C. (1985). Political behavior as an economic externality: Econometric evidence on the relationship between ownership and decision-making participation in U.S. firms, participation in community affairs. In Derek C. Jones, & Jan Svejnar (Eds.), Advances in the economic analysis of participatory and labor-managed firms (Vol. 1, pp. 123–136). Greenwich: JAI Press.Google Scholar
  44. Sobel, Richard (1993). From occupational involvement to political participation: An exploratory analysis. Political Behavior, 15, 339–353.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Teorell, Jan (2003). Linking social capital to political participation: Voluntary associations and networks of recruitment in Sweden. Scandinavian Political Studies, 26, 49–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Tørres, Liv (2000). Amandla Ngawethu! The trade union movement in South Africa and political change. Oslo: Oslo University.Google Scholar
  47. Verba, Sidney, Schlozman, Kay Lehman, & Brady, Henry E. (1995). Voice and equality: Civic voluntarism in American politics. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  48. Welch, Susanne (1977). Women as political animals? A test of some explanations for male–female political participation differences. American Journal of Political Science, 21, 711–730.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GovernmentUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden

Personalised recommendations