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Article
Publication date: 19 July 2023

Fathi Fakhfakh, Nathalie Magne, Thibault Mirabel and Virginie Pérotin

France is the third country in Europe after Italy and Spain for the number of employee-owned firms, with some 2,600 worker cooperatives (SCOPs). The authors propose a…

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Abstract

Purpose

France is the third country in Europe after Italy and Spain for the number of employee-owned firms, with some 2,600 worker cooperatives (SCOPs). The authors propose a comprehensive review of SCOPs and any barriers to their expansion.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors analyse relevant legislation; review the rich empirical economic literature on SCOPs; and offer new descriptive empirical evidence comparing SCOPs and other French firms.

Findings

SCOPs benefit from a consistent legal framework and a well-structured and supportive cooperative movement. Cooperative laws allow attracting external capital, provide barriers against degeneration and encourage profit allocations that favour investment and labour. SCOPs are distributed across a wide range of industries; are larger than conventional firms, as capital intensive, more productive and survive better. Despite this good performance their number remains modest, perhaps because of information barriers.

Research limitations/implications

An examination of the Italian and Spanish experiences and the relationship between SCOPs and the French labour movement might contribute to explaining the modest number of SCOPs.

Originality/value

The first comprehensive review of French worker cooperatives in four decades and the first with extensive comparative data on SCOPs and conventional French firms. With some of the best data on worker cooperatives in the world, findings have international relevance.

Details

Journal of Participation and Employee Ownership, vol. 6 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2514-7641

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 29 October 2021

Thibault Mirabel

Various theories predict that firm buyouts survive longer than newly created firms. The study aims to know whether it is the case for worker-owned firms (WOFs), i.e. firms owned…

Abstract

Purpose

Various theories predict that firm buyouts survive longer than newly created firms. The study aims to know whether it is the case for worker-owned firms (WOFs), i.e. firms owned and controlled mostly by their workers.

Design/methodology/approach

The author conducted a comparative survival analysis of French WOFs distinguished by their entry mode (i.e. newly created, worker buyouts (WBOs) of sound conventional firms, WBOs of conventional firms in difficulty or WBOs of non-profit organizations).

Findings

The hazard of exit is 32% lower for WBOs of sound conventional firms than newly created WOFs, 18% for WBOs of conventional firms in difficulty and 64% for WBOs of non-profit organizations. The current study confirms that WBOs, even of conventional firms in difficulty, have on average a survival advantage over newly created WOFs. Surprisingly, the author also shows that this survival advantage is similar across sectors with different knowledge intensity but is lower in high capital-intensive sectors than in low capital-intensive ones.

Research limitations/implications

Endogeneity issues limit the scope of the results and should be tackled in future research. Overall, these findings show that WOFs are composed of groups with different survival likelihoods that are obscured if one only looks at the aggregate population.

Practical implications

With caution, support agencies could foster WBOs of firms in difficulty and of non-profit organizations as viable forms of entrepreneurship.

Originality/value

The current study offers the first survival analysis distinguishing four modes of entry among WOFs.

Details

Journal of Participation and Employee Ownership, vol. 4 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2514-7641

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 2 June 2021

Thibault Mirabel

This paper reviews the evolution, current state and ongoing trends of the empirical literature on employee-owned firms (EOFs).

Abstract

Purpose

This paper reviews the evolution, current state and ongoing trends of the empirical literature on employee-owned firms (EOFs).

Design/methodology/approach

Using a structured literature review methodology, I analyze 280 empirical publications on EOFs published in English peer-reviewed academic journals over the 1970–2019 period.

Findings

Two generations (before and after 2001) of the EOF empirical literature are identified and characterized in terms of authors, journals, topics, methods, targets, relations to theoretical modeling and countries studied. Two research trends are structuring the current generation: one investigating diverse research questions engaging EOFs as emblematic forms of social economy, and the other comparing EOFs to conventional firms to offer insights mainly into the seminal question of the EOF relative rarity.

Research limitations/implications

The sample studied does not take into account articles written in languages other than English and does not include books.

Originality/value

This article displays the first structured literature review of the EOF empirical literature.

Details

Journal of Participation and Employee Ownership, vol. 4 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2514-7641

Keywords

Abstract

Details

Journal of Participation and Employee Ownership, vol. 6 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2514-7641

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 27 June 2023

Marco Lomuscio, Ermanno Celeste Tortia and Andrea Cori

In Italy, worker cooperatives (WCs), whose workers hold major control rights over collectively-owned assets, are the leading vehicle for the promotion and development of employee…

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Abstract

Purpose

In Italy, worker cooperatives (WCs), whose workers hold major control rights over collectively-owned assets, are the leading vehicle for the promotion and development of employee ownership. Worker cooperatives are present in all regions and in most economic sectors, employing about 506,000 workers and generating a turnover of about €22 bn. Despite their history and diffusion, the high prevalence of WCs in Italy is under-researched and -thematised and requires new research.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper leverages unpublished primary and secondary data from Centro Studi Legacoop databank, the Aida-Bureau Van Dijk databank and the Cooperative Registry of the Ministry of Economic Development (CRMED) to explain the spread of WCs in Italy.

Findings

This paper reveals descriptive statistics of WCs and investigates their distribution across economic sectors and regions, their economic and financial performance and gives an overview of the relevant legislation. The paper indicates that older small- and medium-sized cooperatives located in central and north-eastern Italy perform best economically. However, in recent years, an increasing number of young cooperatives has emerged in South Italy thanks to favourable legislation, cooperative finance and the diffusion of cooperative know-how. Limitations to such results are reported in the conclusions.

Originality/value

The paper sheds light on past and recent development trends of WCs in Italy, highlights their growth in South Italy and revitalises the debate on the drivers, structures and rationales of employee-owned enterprises in Italy. Findings generate implications for research and practice. Given the tendency of WCs to better protect jobs than investor-owned enterprises, the spread of these enterprises may help workers find better and more stable jobs, counter-cyclically mitigating the dangerous effects of macro- and meso-economic fluctuations and instability.

Details

Journal of Participation and Employee Ownership, vol. 6 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2514-7641

Keywords

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