Can employee ownership and human resource management policies clash in worker cooperatives? Lessons from a defunct cooperative
Lertxundi Lertxundi, Aitziber
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Human Resource Management : (2019)
[EN] The article analyzes the interaction between employee ownership, HRM policies and practices and HRM outcomes in the world‘s biggest industrial worker cooperative for decades and now defunct Fagor Electrodomésticos. Using longitudinal data and detailed interviews with key stakeholders, this paper sheds light on how employee ownership conditioned HRM policies. HRM outcomes – such as job satisfaction and absenteeism – are also analyzed over a long period of time and for diverse groups in the workforce defined in terms of ownership, age, tenure, salary or professional status. Chronic nepotism when recruiting new members, failures in the training policy, impoverished and Taylorist working systems and reverse dominance hierarchies are analyzed as factors that increased free riding and caused low satisfaction and the disengagement of working members. This case study contributes to the literature on HRM and worker cooperatives as it provides some insights that are rarely found in that literature. It also gives guidance to worker cooperatives about increasing the fit between employee ownership and HRM policies and outcomes.