This chapter maps existing patterns of broad-based worker ownership and control in contemporary advanced capitalism and considers future possibilities for expanding democracy within firms. Section one discusses worker ownership and control arrangements in relation to different theories of the firm and shows how these arrangements map onto different national systems. Section two compares Germany, which … Read More
The benefits of employee ownership as a strategy for achieving broad-based prosperity are well documented—but the growing field of impact investing has yet to fully recognize the key opportunity employee ownership presents for tackling economic inequality. In this Fifty by Fifty research brief, Mary Ann Beyster explores the existing landscape of employee ownership opportunities for … Read More
In 2009, United Steelworkers (USW) and Mondragon signed an agreement to promote union co-ops: firms that combine democratic worker ownership and union membership. Eleven U.S. initiatives now seek to implement the USW-Mondragon union co-op model, prompting a debate about whether unions and worker cooperatives are stronger together. This article draws on a case study of … Read More
This handbook investigates ‘member-owned’ organizations, whether consumer co-operatives, agricultural and producer co-operatives, worker co-operatives, mutual building societies, friendly societies, credit unions, solidarity organizations, mutual insurance companies, or employee-owned companies. Such organizations can be owned by the consumers, producers, or employees—whether through single-stakeholder or multi-stakeholder ownership. ‘Employee-owned’ business means businesses where a significant proportion of the … Read More
This special section of The Sociological Quarterly, edited by Joyce Rothschild includes the following articles: The Logic of a Co-Operative Economy and Democracy 2.0: Recovering the Possibilities for Autonomy, Creativity, Solidarity and Common Purpose by Joyce Rothschild When Freedom is Not an Endless Meeting: A New Look at Efficiency in Consensus-Based Decision-Making by Darcy K. Leach “Plan … Read More
Decades of feminist scholarship documents the persistence of gender inequality in work organizations. Yet few studies explicitly examine gender inequality in collectivist organizations like worker cooperatives. This article draws on the “theory of gendered organizations” to consider how gender operates in a worker-recovered cooperative in contemporary Argentina. Based on ethnographic and archival research in Hotel … Read More
The opportunity to convert businesses to worker cooperatives is increasingly becoming recognized as a strategy for strengthening our local economies. The need—and opportunity—for lenders and other capital providers to participate in these sales transactions is expected to grow significantly in the coming years. But only a handful of lenders in the U.S. specialize in lending … Read More
Two major shifts in contemporary work organizations—“employee participation” and “diversity management”—have typically been studied in isolation from one another. Building on theoretical work by Acker (2006a,b), we ask how the interaction of these two constructs has affected the pursuit of workplace democracy at two worker cooperatives in Northern California. Using qualitative methods, we find that … Read More
This two-page Business Action Guide describes the nation’s largest worker owned cooperative, Cooperative Home Care Associates, and its innovative approach to scheduling.
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…
Can We Do It Ourselves focuses on economic philosophy with an emphasis on the concept of economic democracy. The film helps viewers understand the difference between a market economy in which consumer demand drives a company’s supply of goods and services, and a capitalist economy in which private owners control production and hold a right to … Read More
The Economics of Cooperative Enterprises is designed as a challenging integrative experience course for undergraduates. Students will be asked to retrospectively analyze their experiences as workers and consumers, evaluating the impact of organizational forms and industry structure. How do cooperative enterprises (including those on campus such as the People’s Market, Earthfoods, and Campus Design and … Read More
Competitiveness today requires being able to operate at a global scale. The financial crisis invigorated this requirement, posing new challenges to the economic viability of conventional companies and demanding alternative organizational forms of production. Although a wealth of research has focused on capitalist companies, little attention has been paid to the way these challenges affected … Read More
In Collective Courage, Jessica Gordon Nembhard chronicles African American cooperative business ownership and its place in the movements for Black civil rights and economic equality. Not since W. E. B. Du Bois’s 1907 Economic Co-operation Among Negro Americans has there been a full-length, nationwide study of African American cooperatives. Collective Courage extends that story into the twenty-first century. Many of … Read More
Ownership and decision-making are key issues in the economic restructuring taking place as economies struggle to emerge from the Great Recession, and technological change and globalization continue to place new demands on workers and firms. Corporate, labor, and policy leaders are increasingly recognizing the potential role of employee ownership, cooperatives, profit sharing, and other ways … Read More
After completing the course, students will have an understanding of the philosophical and theoretical bases for broadening access to capital among wider ranges of the population as a way of strengthening the capitalist model.
How could the managing director maintain the firm’s cooperative structure, address the nutritional needs of all Indians, make use of emerging technology, and navigate the country’s dairy policies in the coming years?
Take-aways from an international tour featuring the documentary film, “We the Owners: Employees Expanding the American Dream.”
After hearing so much about how employee stock ownership plans (ESOP) and other ownership plans in the U.S. transform companies, it seemed logical to think that other countries, like Mexico, should have similar incentive plans in place. This assumption, however, turned out to be incorrect….
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.
To make an economy that serves us, we need to own the jobs and the businesses—together. How cooperatives are leading the way to empowered workers and healthy communities…
This film tells the little known stories of employee-owned businesses that compete successfully in today’s economy while providing secure, dignified jobs in democratic workplaces. The film highlights examples including Mondragon in the Basque Country in Spain and the Evergreen Cooperatives in Cleveland, Ohio, as well as smaller businesses including coffee shops and bakeries.
Looking around at the wreckage left in the wake of the world economy’s latest crisis, veteran business journalist Marjorie Kelly noticed that some institutions were left relatively unscathed. What did they have in common? The key, Kelly realized, is seemingly obscure: ownership. Prominent among the survivors were organizations that combined the flexibility of traditional private ownership with a focus on the common good…
When companies are owned by workers and the community—instead of Wall Street financiers—everything changes.
The United Steelworkers, Mondragon International USA, and the Ohio Employee Ownership Center created this detailed model for developing sustainable jobs through a combination of worker ownership and unionization. This model, or template, for unionized cooperatives seeks to implement principles and values of the Mondragon model in combination with collective bargaining. The model is intended to … Read More