The turn of the 20th century has been characterized by vigorous debates between institutional labor economists and the proponents of scientific management concerning what was called labor problems. The main purpose of this paper is to examine the meaning of these debates and question the basis for the disagreement between the main authors of these two schools of thought, by focusing on the topic of democracy in companies, a central topic at that period. We show that two opposing views of work democracy can be identified. These views originate from different epistemological positions concerning the nature of work.
Codes JEL: B15, J53, M54.