The structure of the worker co-operative sector in the UK: interpreting recent trends

Cornforth, Chris and Thomas, Alan (1994). The structure of the worker co-operative sector in the UK: interpreting recent trends. Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, 65(4) pp. 641–656.



Historically, worker co-operative sectors in most countries have remained very small in comparison to capitalist forms of business and the formation of worker co-operatives has varied cyclically. This has been most apparent in the UK(Thornley, 1981; Cornforth etal., 1988) and the USA (Shirom, 1972; Aldrich and Stern, 1983). However, even in countries with more established sectors, such as France and Italy there is also a strong cyclical element in formation rates and a concentration of co-operatives in particular sectors (Thornley, 1981).

In previous papers we have argued that this limited development of worker co-operatives historically can be explained in terms of various barriers to development that they face, which tend to limit the formation rate of co-operatives and their potential for growth (Comforth et al., 1988; Cornforth, 1989, Cornforth and Thomas, 1990). In this paper we focus on recent changes in the worker cooperative sector in the UK between 1988 and 1993, and whether these can be explained in terms of our previous ideas about barriers to development.

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  • Item ORO ID
  • 15860
  • Item Type
  • Journal Item
  • ISSN
  • 1467-8292
  • Academic Unit or School
  • Faculty of Business and Law (FBL)
  • Copyright Holders
  • © 1994 CIRIEC
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