The decline of the Mondragon cooperatives

Harding, Sandra
February 1998
Australian Journal of Social Issues (Australian Council of Socia;Feb98, Vol. 33 Issue 1, p59
Academic Journal
The Mondragon producers cooperatives in Basque Spain represent the classic case of alternative industrial organisation. While the cooperatives received a great deal of scholarly attention during the 1970s and 1980s, relatively little has been published on recent developments at Mondragon. It is time to update the Mondragon story. In 1991, 100 cooperatives joined to become the Mondragon Cooperative Corporation. This super-structure has permitted an important degree of centralised control over member cooperatives. Yet, it has also been the source of substantial challenges, both structural and ideological, to this alternative form of industrial organisation. We appear to be witnessing the cooperatives' decline, the end of a great experiment in favour of just another capitalist enterprise. This story is important both for cooperativism in Mondragon itself and for scholars and practitioners worldwide who find in Mondragon proof than an alternative, less exploitative approach to industrial organisation is possible.


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