In this inside look at worker cooperatives, Joan Meyers challenges long-held views and beliefs. From the outside, worker cooperatives all seem to offer alternatives to bad jobs and unequal treatment by giving workers democratic control and equitable ownership of their workplaces. Some contend, however, that such egalitarianism and self-management come at the cost of efficiency … Read More
Labor unions and worker-owned businesses share the objectives of generating better jobs and giving workers control over their workplaces. The scaling of worker ownership paired with unionization offers pathways to expanded worker power and wealth-building for working people. The purpose of this paper is to show strategies used by labor unions to support the creation … Read More
How does a business go about transitioning —“converting”— to a worker-owned cooperative? This report provides illustrations with case studies of businesses that have converted and highlights key lessons from those companies’ experiences. The report categorizes conversions into four types: Type I: Owner sells to existing employees with the intention of remaining with the company; Type … Read More
This case study examines employee share ownership at North State Grocery, where the Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) solved a transition challenge in a company owned by two siblings. Thanks to the ESOP, long-term employees, including frontline staff such as cashiers and bakery workers, build a larger cushion of retirement savings than is typical in … Read More
In this video about North State Grocery, the 100% employee owned chain of grocery stores operating as Holiday Market and Sav-Mor-Foods in Northern California and Oregon, employees describe what employee ownership means to them.
This Fortune Magazine video describes employee ownership at Publix Super Markets, the largest employee-owned company operating in the United States.
This case study describes John Lewis Partnership. John Lewis Company has been in business since 1864. In 1929, it became the John Lewis Partnership (JLP) when the son of the founder sold a portion of the firm to the employees. In 1955, he sold his remaining interest to the employee/partners. JLP has a constitution and … Read More
This 2019 MIT Sloan case by Zeynep Ton and Katie Bach describes how the executive team at Mud Bay, a privately held pet store chain based in Olympia, Washington, implemented a good jobs strategy by offering better wages and benefits and seeking to recoup the costs by increasing sales growth and lowering other expenses.
This case study focuses on Wawa, the convenience store, gas station and restaurant company. Founded in 1803, Wawa morphed over time from an iron foundry to a textile mill, to a dairy farm, dairy delivery business, grocery store, then convenience store. Dark clouds descended with the 2008 financial crisis. As competitors converged on Wawa, management … Read More
Led by CEO Zhang Ruimin, Haier in 30 years has gone from a money-losing, rigid hierarchy, state-owned, local firm to a profitable, flexible structure, collectively-owned, multinational enterprise. This transformation has been done in well-defined steps. In 2012, it was moving toward operating as a platform for microenterprises. The platform was to be open to both … Read More
In 1993, Mack Hembree, a successful real estate businessman, was invited to invest in opening a business that he had some commonly held reservations about. The business was a pawn shop… By fostering and aligning employee satisfaction, collaboration, and commitment at every level, Mack has developed an ownership culture that differentiates Gems N’ Loans from its peers and has been instrumental in the company’s success.
A favorite question of mine for any CEO: What’s the toughest thing about your business? I guarantee you any executive in the supermarket industry will rank among his or her top headaches the hiring and retention of good people, in an industry where service quality increasingly is the mark of differentiation, and worker turnover is … Read More
In the wake of this cooperative’s recently concluded $4M stock offering, Equal Exchange created a single document that explains all of our unorthodox capital model…
In Corvallis, Oregon, a couple miles north of the Oregon State University campus, sits a WinCo Foods discount supermarket and, unless you’re in need of groceries, you might drive by without noticing it. I assure you, however, it’s an extraordinary building, a laboratory of capitalism worthy of pilgrimages by the world’s great business schools. It … Read More
In 1983, Rink Dickinson, Jonathan Rosenthal, and Michael Rozyne were all recent college graduates and working for a food co-op warehouse in the Boston area. They began to question the system: What if food could be traded in a way that is honest and fair, a way that empowers both farmers and consumers? What if … Read More
The Wawa associates have an ESOP which plays a key role in Wawa’s culture of ownership. This case explores the role of incentives and levers of control to create a successful retail chain.
Equal Exchange is a cooperative organization that taps into the full capacities of everyone involved in a socially responsible way. This article describes how it has used the wisdom of its multiple stakeholders to create a collaborative community, to be profitable, and to have significant positive impact on people’s lives and the environment in approximately 20 countries.
Maui Divers established its employee ownership plan in 1997. Maui Divers store managers/employee owners embrace the business as their own. Although the final decision belongs to the company management team, store managers excel in increasing sales and they continuously come up with business plans in order to make the business better.
The case looks at the two dominant Finnish retailers: S Group and Kesko. The case requires that students consider sources of competitive advantage that arise from the companies’ markedly different business models.
The John Lewis Partnership (JLP) is one of the UK’s most profitable retailers – sales grew by 6.3% and pre-tax profit by 18.7% in the year to 27 January 2008. Its success owes much to the co-ownership principles of its founder, John Spedan Lewis, who handed over control and ownership in two trust settlements in the last century.
Here’s why Hy-Vee is successful as a chain and as a marketer of its private brands: Location, Ownership, Organization, Brands, Promotion and Customer Focus.
Growth rarely comes without growing pains, especially in the Darwinian world of retail. One of the major challenges for any successful business is managing growth by planning and executing effective strategies.
This case traces the origins of Starbucks and its rapid growth through joint partnerships and diversified products, and its rapid expansion of retail cafes. A profile of Starbuck’s financial contributions to community development and literacy projects, and its efforts to promote progressive workplace conditions is presented. Despite this, criticisms of pushing out local businesses, homogenization … Read More
McKay Nursery Co., founded in 1897 in Waterloo, WI, had a longstanding history of commitment to employees. The close-knit organization was a pioneer in the agricultural industry of several employee-friendly policies. But in the early 1980s, as McKay’s owners grew older and senior management neared retirement, the next generation of managers feared for the future of the profitable, debt-free company…
In the late 1980s Howard Schultz led the Starbucks Coffee Co. to explosive growth, transforming a small whole-bean coffee company into a national retail power. Starbucks success hinged on its reputation for quality and personal service…