From Self-Management to Representative Democracy – the Case of Two Kibbutz Industrial Plants
In this paper we would like to show when and why an organization abandons its self-management praxis and changes from a neo-organizational structure into an almost Weberian structure. In order to do so we will show the parallelism between processes occurring in many kibbutz communities by analyzing two case studies of kibbutz plants. This is done by studying the interplay between changes in the kibbutz culture and changes in the plant through life cycle theories and organizational culture theories.
Our research methodology was qualitative and ethnographic interviews were held with kibbutz members employed by the organization, with kibbutz members and with CEOs that had held jobs in the past. The interviews were conducted between 2009 and 2013. This enabled us to better understand the social and organizational processes that occurred in the community and in the plant.
The main findings show that both kibbutz communities underwent far reaching changes and at the same time so did their industrial plants. But, while the kibbutz communities limited their steps towards privatization the plants went all the way – the one plant has diminished in size as it sold out most of its manufacturing activities and now it concentrates mainly on selling and servicing products it used to manufacture. The other plant has grown and thrived but abandoned most of its democratic characteristics in favor of bureaucratic ones.