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Simon Pek

Gustavson researcher Simon Pek

Associate Professor; UVic President's Chair

Office: BEC 476 250-472-5349
Area of expertise:
Organizational democracy, employee ownership, organizational culture, corporate sustainability, deliberative democracy, sustainable business


Simon Pek is an associate professor of business and society at the Gustavson School of Business, University of Victoria. His research interests include alternative forms of organizing, employee ownership, sustainability-oriented culture change, and workplace democracy. He is particularly interested in exploring how organizations can achieve their social and environmental objectives using democratic innovations. 

Simon's research has appeared in top-tier outlets including Academy of Management Review, Organization Science, Strategic Management Journal, Business Ethics Quarterly and Journal of Business Ethics. He has received numerous awards and grants, including a President's Chair from the University of Victoria and the Ascendant Scholar Award from the Western Academy of Management. He currently services as associate editor at Business & Society and the Journal of Management Inquiry. 

In terms of his community engagement, Simon served as the steering committee lead of the Ontario Assembly on Workplace Democracy and the project lead of the Students’ Dialogue on Democratic Engagement. Simon also co-founded Democracy In Practice, a non-profit dedicated to democratic experimentation, innovation and capacity-building. In this capacity, he spoke at the Council of Europe's World Forum for Democracy 2016, where Democracy In Practice was selected as a finalist for the Democracy Innovation Award. He has engaged with various media outlets to offer commentary and discuss his work, including CBC’s Marketplace, CBC’s Canada Tonight, Global News, and Radio-Canada International.

Simon is very open to connecting with prospective collaborators, graduate students, and organizations working in his areas of interest and expertise. 


Courses taught

  • Research Foundations (PhD)
  • Managing People and Organizations (TELUS MBA)

  • Designing Innovative Organizations (MBA)
  • Business & Sustainability (BCom)

  • Alternative Forms of Organizing (BCom)

Selected publications

Journal publications

Mannan, M., Pek, S., & Scholz, T. R. (2023). Platform cooperatives and poverty eradication: Building on the legacy of Johnston Birchall. Journal of Entrepreneurial and Organizational Diversity, 12(2), 33-55. 

Pek, S. (2023). Reconceptualizing and Improving Member Participation in Large Cooperatives: Insights from Deliberative Democracy and Deliberative Mini-Publics. M@n@gement. 26(4), 68-82. 

Pek, S. (2023). Learning from Cooperatives to Strengthen Economic Bicameralism. Politics & Society, 51(2), 258-277.               

Pek, S. (2023). Business and the climate crisis: Toward engagement with climate assemblies. Business & Society. 62(4), 699-703. 

Kennedy, J., & Pek, S. (2023). Mini-publics, student participation, and universities’ deliberative capacity. Studies in Higher Education, 48(1), 63-82. 

Mannan, M., & Pek, S. (2023). Platform cooperatives and the dilemmas of platform worker‐member participation. New Technology, Work and Employment. 

Pek, S., Mena, S., & Lyons, B. (2023). The role of deliberative mini-publics in improving the deliberative capacity of multi-stakeholder initiatives. Business Ethics Quarterly. 33(1), 102-145.

Pek, S. (2022). The Tip of the Iceberg: A Roadmap for Management Research on Tipping. Journal of Management Inquiry, 31(3). 

Pek, S. (2021). Drawing out democracy: The role of sortition in preventing and overcoming organizational degeneration in worker-owned firms. Journal of Management Inquiry. 30(2), 193-206.

Howard-Grenville, J., Lahmneman, B., & Pek, S. (2020). Organizational culture as a tool for change. Stanford Social Innovation Review. Summer, 2020.

Pek, S. (2019). Rekindling union democracy through the use of sortition. Journal of Business Ethics, 155(4), 1033–1051.

Pek, S., Kennedy, J., & Cronkright, A. (2018). Democracy transformed: Perceived legitimacy of the institutional shift from election to random selection of representatives. Journal of Public Deliberation, 1(14), Article 3.

Pek, S., Oh, C. H., & Rivera, J. (2018). MNC foreign investment and industrial disasters: The moderating role of technological, safety management, and philanthropic capabilities. Strategic Management Journal, 2(39), 502–526.

Lyons, B. J., Pek, S., & Wessel, J. L. (2017). Toward a "Sunlit Path": Stigma Identity Management as a Source of Localized Social Change Through Interaction. Academy of Management Review, 42(4), 618–636.

Pek, S., Tucker, S., Turner, N., Kelloway, E. K., & Morrish, J. (2017). Injunctive safety norms, young worker risk-taking behaviors, and workplace injuries. Accident Analysis & Prevention, (106), 202–210.

Bertels, S., Howard-Grenville, J., & Pek, S. (2016). Cultural molding, shielding and shoring at Oilco: The role of culture in the integration of routines. Organization Science, 27(3), 573–593.

Bertels, S., Cody, M., & Pek, S. (2014). A responsive approach to organizational misconduct: Rehabilitation, reintegration, and the reduction of re-offense. Business Ethics Quarterly, 24(3), 343–370.

Practitioner and policy-oriented publications

Ellis, P., Stevens, M., Kennedy, K., & Pek, S. (2023). Student mini-publics How to run democratic innovations in universities. Available here

Hemingway, A., & Pek, S. (2023). Rethinking civic engagement on housing. Policy Note. 

Pek, S., & Busaan, L. (2023). How climate assemblies can help Canada tackle the climate crisis. The Conversation. 

Pek, S., & Poggioli, N. (2023). Leveraging Insights from Mini-Publics to Develop Biodiversity Strategies. Amplify. 36(3), 16-25. 

Busaan, L., & Pek, S. (2023). Investing in employee ownership could help the Canadian government meets its sustainability goals. The Conversation. 

Pek, S., & Gomez, R. (2022). What do workers want? 5 key takeaways from the first citizens’ assembly on workplace democracy. The Conversation. 

Pek, S., & Mena, S. (2022). How businesses can collaboratively ‘walk the talk’ on social and economic challenges. The Conversation. 

Pek, S., & Kennedy, J. (2022). Universities can foster more deliberative democracy—starting by empowering students. The Conversation. 

Pek, S., & Kennedy, J. (2022). Open government, anti-corruption, and democratic lotteries in education. UNESCO ETICO programme blog. 

Pek, S. (2022). The future of tipping should be driven by Canadians, not businesses. The Conversation. 

Pek, S. (2022). New budget offers Canada a chance to get employee ownership right. The Conversation. 

Kennedy, J., Pek, S., & Smith, G. (2020). Universities should be spaces for democratic innovation. Times Higher Education. 

Cotton, R, & Pek, S. (2020). Getting charged up about carbon neutrality: How one business school achieved net-zero carbon emissions. Biz Ed. XIX(1): 46-48. 

Pek, S., Cotton, R., & Ford, M. (2019). Positive learning on carbon neutrality: A leading Canadian school helps students to live their sustainable curriculum. Global Focus. 13(2): 66-70.

Awards & grants

Recognition & awards

  • 2022 - Social Capital Partners Fellow, Institute for the Study of Employee Ownership and Profit Sharing

  • 2022 - Western Academy of Management’s Ascendant Scholar Award

  • 2020 - President's Chair 

  • 2020 - Rutgers Research Fellow

  • 2018 - Dean's Convocation Medal, Simon Fraser University

  • 2017 - Honourable Mention, ONE Division Dissertation Award 2017

  • 2015 - Best Doctoral Student Paper Award, 56th Annual Meeting of the Western Academy of Management


  • Democracy at work: Democratizing organizations through the use of random selection, Funded by University of Victoria Office of Research Services - IRCPG Grant (April 1, 2018 - March 31, 2019) ($6,090.00), Completed, Summer 2019, PI Simon Pek
  • Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship, Funded by SSHRC (September 1, 2015 - August 31, 2017) ($70,000.00), Completed, Summer 2017, PI Simon Pek
  • A systematic review and analysis of business practices to foster cultural sustainability. , Funded by University of Victoria Office of Research Services - IRCPG Grant (April 1, 2019 - March 31, 2020) ($6,428.00), Funded - In Progress, Summer 2019, PI Simon Pek

Special projects

The Promise and Potential of Democratic Innovations in Organizations

Organizations of all types, whether cooperatives, labour unions, student unions, or privately-held firms, face challenges involving their members and stakeholders in decision-making. Democratic innovations like citizens’ assemblies and participatory budgeting have the potential to address these challenges and help organizations achieve their social and environmental objectives. Simon is currently working with various organizations on collaborative research projects to study the implementation and impacts of these innovations. If you are interested in exploring potential collaborations, please do not hesitate to contact him.