Squaring a circle?

In many countries of the European Economic Area (EEA), democracy at work involves mandatory employee representation in company boards, with a right for worker representatives to vote about top-level strategic matters. The democratic potential of board-level employee representation (BLER) depends not only on the institutional arrangements underlying it, but also on a strong coordination with other institutions of workers’ voice, such as works councils or trade unions (Waddington 2018:204).

However, not only do workers in many countries still lack access to this form of democracy at work, but even among those countries which do have such regulations, the institutional design and implementation vary widely. Thus, the extent of influence and power that board-level employee representatives can exercise depends on their specific societal context (Waddington 2018).