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 worker cooperatives. Drawing from a qualitative case study of the Mondragon Cooperative Group, this article discusses the obstacles to internationalization faced by worker cooperatives, as well as the specific conditions and implications involved. In particular, the article analyzes Mondragon’s contradiction between being forced to expand and trying to keep cooperative values during this expansion. Two main actions aimed at responding to this contradiction are analyzed: the creation of mixed cooperatives and the extension of the corporate management model. The analysis of this process will shed light on actions for the global expansion of worker cooperatives.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information: The results presented here build on the research “The Contribution of Competitive Cooperativism to Overcoming Current Economic Problems” (Cooperativismo Competitivo: Aportacions a la sostenibilidad y calidad del empleo en el momento económico actual), which is funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation through the National R&D Program.
- Cooperative values
- worker cooperatives