Joshua Wanjare


The interest in greater workers’ control of industry through co-operative enterprises has been fuelled by the extraordinary success of the Mondragon group of worker co-operatives in the Basque provinces of Spain. Efforts have consequently been made to replicate the Mondragon-style worker co-operatives in most western industrialized countries. This extraordinary success has been attributed to the worker co-operative model’s ability to promote and nurture social capital and asset-based capacities. This paper therefore examines how the worker co-operative model promotes and nurtures social capital and asset-based capacities. The study analyzes the nature of a worker co-operative as an organization model in search of credence to the assertion that these enterprises are inherently social-capital type organizations. The study concludes that a worker co-operative represents one of the best forms of a social-capital type enterprise. As membership based organizations, worker co-operatives’ main investment is on social capital. This paper also discusses how worker co-operatives promote asset-based capacities by building local assets and increasing economic stability for worker-owners and their communities. The study concludes that a worker co-operative’s model encourages and promotes the development and utilization of the resources that are embedded in local communities and their residents. As people exercise their capacities, they often find that they need the talents of others. This is the essence of worker co-operatives where individual members combine their own talents with the capacities of others to form co-operatives that can make extensive and valuable contributions to the members and their communities.


JEL: E24, J24, O15


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social capital, asset-based capacities, worker co-operative


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