Industrial Democracy

Industrial Democracy

Industrial Democracy (1st edn 1897;[1] 9th edn 1926) is a book written by British socialist reformers collective bargaining. The book introduced the term industrial democracy to the social sciences, which has since gained a different meaning in modern industrial relations.[2]

Industrial Democracy was published in 1897, three years after the Webbs published History of Trade Unionism, an account of the roots and development of the British trade union movement.


  • Outline 1
  • Contents 2
  • See also 3
  • Notes 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


Industrial Democracy is divided into three parts. The first part concerns the structure of trade unions and concludes that "Trade Unions are democracies; that is to say their internal constitutions are all based on the principle 'government of the people by the people for the people.'"[2] Part II focuses on the function of trade unions and specifically the method of collective bargaining. The third part delves into the theory of trade unions.[3]

The imbalance of behaviour between employers and employees was described by the Webbs as follows.[4]


Part I Trade Union Structure
Chapter I Primitive Democracy
Chapter II Representative Institutions
Chapter III The Unit of Government
Chapter IV Interunion Relations
Part II Trade Union Function
Chapter I Introduction and The Method of Mutual Insurance
Chapter II The Method of Collective Bargaining
Chapter III Arbitration
Chapter IV The Method of Legal Enactment
Chapter V The Standard Rate
Chapter VI The Normal Day
Chapter VII Sanitation and Safety
Chapter VIII New Process and Machinery
Chapter IX Continuity of Employment
Chapter X The Entrance to a Trade
(a) Apprenticeship
(b) The Limitation of Boy-Labor
(c) Progression Within the Trade
(d) The Exclusion of Women
Chapter XI The Right to a Trade
Chapter XII The Implications of Trade Unionism
Chapter XIII The Assumptions of Trade Unionism
Part III Trade Union Theory
Chapter I The Verdict of the Economists
Chapter II The Higgling of the Market
Chapter III The Economic Characteristics of Trade Unionism
(a) The Device of Restriction of Numbers
(b) The Device of the Common Rule
(c) The Effect of the Sectional Application of the Common Rule on the Distribution of Industry
(d) Parasitic Trades
(e) The National Minimum
(f) The Unemployable
(g) Summary of the Economic Characteristics of the Device of the Common Rule
(h) Trade Union Methods
Chapter IV Trade Unionism and Democracy
I The Legal Position of Collective Bargaining in England
II The Bearing of Industrial Parasitism and the Policy of a National Minimum on the Free Trade Controversy
III Some Statistics Bearing on the Relative Movements of the Marriage and Birth-Rates, Pauperism, Wages, and the Price of Wheat
IV A Supplement to the Bibliography of Trade Unionism

See also


  1. ^ Webb, Sidney; Webb, Beatrice (1897), Industrial Democracy I (1 ed.), London, New York, Bombay: Longmans, Green & Co, retrieved 5 October 2014 ; Webb, Sidney; Webb, Beatrice (1897), Industrial Democracy II (1 ed.), London, New York, Bombay: Longmans, Green & Co, retrieved 5 October 2014 
  2. ^ a b Müller-Jentsch, Walther (December 16, 2007). "Industrial Democracy: Historical Development and Current Challenges". Management Revue. 19 (4): 260–273. Retrieved August 17, 2010. 
  3. ^ "Industrial democracy (1902)". Canadian Libraries Internet Archive. Retrieved August 16, 2010. 
  4. ^ S Webb and B Webb, Industrial Democracy (1902) 842


  • WH Dawson, 'Review' (Jul., 1898) 12 Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 136-143

External links

  • Text on Wikisource
  • Industrial Democracy on
  • 1920 text edition on, unedited