Multinational Expansion of Worker Cooperatives and Their Employment Practices: Markets, Institutions, and Politics in Mondragon

Drawing on qualitative research and longitudinal data on two Mondragon multinational cooperatives, the authors examine the multinational expansion of these co-ops and the diffusion of the cooperative model’s employment practices to their subsidiaries in Brazil, China, Slovakia, France, and Poland. The results show that international expansion can radically transform the organizational architecture of co-ops and exacerbate dilemmas about how to put their hallmark values into practice. Moreover, the findings reveal a fragmented and inconsistent introduction of the cooperative model overseas. Work organization practices are homogeneous across the various sites, whereas job security, training, and pay equity practices are not. Core cooperative practices (i.e., employee participation in ownership, profit sharing, and general management) have not been implemented in any foreign operation. The study illustrates how market influences, institutions, and macro- and micro-politics shape the transfer of employment practices.

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0019793918779575
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