Should the democratic exercise of authority that we take for granted in the realm of government be extended to the managerial sphere? Exploring this question, Christopher McMahon develops a theory of government and management as two components of an integrated system of social authority that is essentially political in nature. He then considers where in this structure democratic decision making is appropriate. McMahon examines the main varieties of authority: the authority of experts, authority grounded in a promise to obey, and authority justified as facilitating mutually beneficial cooperation. He also discusses the phenomenon of managerial authority, the authority that guides nongovernmental organization, and argues that managerial authority is best regarded not as the authority of a principal over an agent, but rather as authority that facilitates mutually beneficial cooperation among employees with different moral aims. Viewed in this way, there is a presumption that managerial authority should be democratically exercised by employees.
Originally published in 1997.
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"[This] book sets out on a journey to determine the appropriate exercise of democratic authority in government in the private sector. While the journey is challenging, the book reaches the destination."--Jack H. Knott, Political Science Quarterly
"Authority and Democracy is a tightly argued book. McMahon seeks to differentiate among three types of authority in private and public organizations: authority based on expertise, authority derived from promises, and authority developed as a result of engaging in a cooperative enterprise. . . . this book draws important linkages among the writings on democracy, management theory, and employee self-ownership."--Choice
"An exemplary contribution to both the fields of business ethics and political philosophy. It is highly original, while at the same time masterfully synthesizing the best work in a number of disciplines."--Allen Buchanan, University of Arizona
Table of Contents:
1 Introduction 3
Pt. I Authority in General and in Government 23
2 Authority 25
3 Moral Principles and Social Facts 52
4 The Justification of Authority 85
5 Democracy 128
Pt. II Managerial Authority 167
6 Management and Morality 169
7 Managerial Authority as P-Authority 194
8 Managerial Authority as C-Authority 231
9 Managerial Democracy 258
Works Cited 293
Hardcover published in 1994