This volume explores an expansive array of organizational imaginaries, or conceptions of organizational possibilities, with a focus on collectivist-democratic organizations that operate in capitalist markets but place more authority and ownership in the hands of stakeholders other than shareholders. These include worker and consumer cooperatives and other enterprises that, to varying degrees: Emphasize social values … Read More
In Workers ‘ Self-Management in Argentina, Marcelo Vieta homes in on the emergence and consolidation of Argentina’s empresas recuperadas por sus trabajadores (ERTs or worker-recuperated enterprises), a workers ‘ occupy movement that surged at the turn-of-the-millennium in the thick of the country ‘s neoliberal crisis. Since then, around 400 companies have been taken over and … Read More
In this book, Gregory K. Dow asks the question: “Why are labor managed firms rare in modern economies?” Dow emphasizes the fact that capital is alienable while labor is inalienable. This distinction, together with market imperfections, explains the rarity of labor-managed firms. This book uses modern microeconomics, develops formal models, exploits up-to-date empirical research, and … Read More
Job quality has received increased attention from academics and policy makers across industrialized countries. Yet, there has been limited assessment of how job quality is impacted by different organizational forms, including cooperatives and employee-owned businesses (EOBs). Although there has been growing interest in how cooperatives/EOBs impact on employee outcomes, comprehensive assessments of the range and … 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
The Worker-Owner Workbook can help teams develop cooperative businesses and worker-ownership culture. The book teaches the nuts and bolts of running a co-op business, from business financials to conflict management to team building. It also contains essential information about the co-op movement, labor movement, and the Mondragon cooperative network of Spain. The Worker-Owner Workbook is … 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 short book presents reflections from Father José María Arizmendiarrieta, the founder of the Mondragon worker-cooperative conglomerate in the Basque country of Spain. His reflections contain economic insights. But these aphorisms and fragments reveal that his central motivation was spiritual—not to the exclusion of the practical, but with the recognition that plutocratic capitalism, also, is … Read More
This free online course from Start.coop is for entrepreneurs building cooperatively owned businesses. Modules include: Lean Co-op: The Basics Defining the Problem Designing the Solution Designing Your Business Model Designing Your Ownership Model Next Steps
Organizational scholars and workplace equality advocates have largely dismissed the ability of democratic employee ownership to deliver power and autonomy to working-class employees. This chapter addresses this gap by investigating how two 100% employee-owned and democratically governed worker-owned cooperatives (businesses where employees are both the owners and the directors of their workplaces) succeeded and failed … Read More
This booklet provides a “users’ manual” for workers, especially immigrant workers, and their advocates, for organizing a worker-owned cooperative as a worker empowerment strategy.
CoopGateway is the world’s largest digital library on cooperatives and mutuals. Created by the Alphonse and Dorimène Desjardins International Institute for Cooperatives of HEC Montréal, CoopGateway aims to promote access, development and sharing of knowledge on cooperatives and mutuals in the digital age.
This free video-based educational program is designed to help minority business owners learn about employee ownership strategies for business succession planning. Developed by the Rutgers University NJ/NY Center for Employee Ownership, with the support of the Kellogg Foundation, this program will help business owners assess the relevance of establishing one of two employee ownership models, based … Read More
Worker cooperative practitioners and developers often claim that democratic worker ownership advances egalitarianism within and beyond the workplace, but most of the empirical evidence in the U.S. is based on ethnographic case studies or small-scale surveys. We leverage the first national survey about individuals’ experiences in these unique firms to ask if claims that co-ops … Read More
In Croatia in 2005, a machine tools factory was occupied by its workers. Since then, they have operated collectively, becoming the only successful example of a worker occupation in post-socialist Europe. Today, as they seek a new model of collective ownership, the world of the factory clashes with the forces of the globalized market economy, … Read More
This interactive course introduces the seven cooperative principles: voluntary and open membership; democratic member control; member economic participation; autonomy and independence; education, training and information; cooperation among cooperatives; and concern for community.
Isthmus Engineering is an example of a highly democratic worker-owned firm operating in an industrial sector that one might not think of as fertile ground for participatory democratic governance—the design and manufacture of highly technical custom automation machinery. From the beginning, membership in the cooperative has been open to any worker, regardless of role or … Read More
The United States business sector is dominated by small businesses that create new jobs at a rate considered faster than that of their larger competitors. Remarkably, military veterans own nearly 13 percent of small businesses. However, only eight percent of all veteran-owned firms are minority owned. The low percentage of minority-owned veteran businesses is perplexing … Read More
This primer focuses on one set of tools the labor movement can utilize to build power, expand wealth, and deepen member engagement in the years ahead: worker ownership. It explores: How Unions and Worker Ownership Work Together How Worker Ownership Can Build Power for Workers The Good, The Bad & The Ugly: Overcoming Challenges Looking … Read More
This interview with Todd Leverette explores how employee ownership could address the racial wealth gap and benefit Black and brown communities. “Employee ownership gives Black and brown workers the ability to both build wealth and improve the quality of their jobs through actually having a voice in not just their day-to-day activities but in the … Read More
Gender scholars have developed a significant body of scholarship on the reproduction of gender inequality in work organizations. However, the vast majority of that research has been conducted in non-profit organizations or in employer-owned businesses. In this article, we review the existing literature on gender in worker-owned businesses. We begin by defining three distinctly different … Read More
This teaching and learning guide accompanies the article “Gender In/equality in Worker-owned Businesses,” which reviews existing literature on gender in businesses with employee stock ownership plans, worker cooperatives, and communes. Worker ownership has attracted renewed interest as a possible solution to the social and economic problems confronting our society. In worker-owned businesses, workers have greater … Read More
Businesses interested in transitioning into employee ownership are often presented with a structural dilemma: convert into an ESOP or a cooperative? Go for the democratic worker control and participation of a cooperative, or the tax benefits of an ESOP? In this article the author describes how he helped a company, Sun Light & Power, combine … Read More
This paper presents findings from a national survey of 1,147 workers in worker cooperatives and follow up interviews with 15 participants conducted in 2017.
Platform cooperatives make possible a more democratic digital economy. They offer an alternative to extractive “platform capitalism,” one based on cooperative principles such as democratic ownership and governance.