Balanced job complex

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A balanced job complex is a way of organizing a workplace or group that is both directly democratic and also creates relative equal empowerment among all people involved.

Specifically a balanced job complex is a collection of tasks within a given workplace that is balanced for its equity and empowerment implications against all other job complexes in that workplace. It was developed as an alternative to the corporate division of labor.

Each worker must do a share of rote tasks (unskilled work) for some time each work day or each week. All workers also share the most rewarding and empowering tasks in the workplace so it is coordinated with everyone's involvement. In this way workers share the burdens and benefits of work that impact each persons ability to participate in democratic decision-making within the workplace.

Balanced job complexes imply a lack of owners or formal managers involved in the workplace, as all tasks are balanced for empowerment.

Balanced job complexes are central to the theory of participatory economics which emerged from the work of radical theorist Michael Albert and that of radical economist Robin Hahnel.

The concept of the balanced job complex was developed and put into practice at South End Press in the late 1970s.

In the 1990s, a series of worker-run collectives in Winnipeg, Canada were founded using parecon-inspired principles, including balanced job complexes, as part of their internal structures. Most notable in this regard have been Mondragon Bookstore and Coffee House, G7 Welcoming Committee Records, and Arbeiter Ring Publishing.

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