Making Mondragon: The Growth and Dynamics of the Worker Cooperative Complex / Edition 2

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Since its founding in 1956 in Spain's Basque region, the Mondragón Corporation has been a touchstone for the international cooperative movement. Its nearly three hundred companies and organizations span areas from finance to education. In its industrial sector Mondragón has had a rich experience over many years in manufacturing products as varied as furniture, kitchen equipment, machine tools, and electronic components and in printing, shipbuilding, and metal smelting.

Making Mondragón is a groundbreaking look at the history of worker ownership in the Spanish cooperative. First published in 1988, it remains the best source for those looking to glean a rich body of ideas for potential adaptation and implementation elsewhere from Mondragón's long and varied experience. This second edition, published in 1991, takes into account the major structural and strategic changes that were being implemented in 1990 to allow the enterprise to compete successfully in the European common market.

Mondragón has created social inventions and developed social structures and social processes that have enabled it to overcome some of the major obstacles faced by other worker cooperatives in the past. William Foote Whyte and Kathleen King Whyte describe the creation and evolution of the Mondragón cooperatives, how they have changed through decades of experience, and how they have struggled to maintain a balance between their social commitments and economic realities. The lessons of Mondragón apply most clearly to worker cooperatives and other employee-owned firms, but also extend to regional development and stimulating and supporting entrepreneurship, whatever the form of ownership.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This important work deserves attention both from those with a special interest in cooperatives and from organizational sociologists in general."—American Journal of Sociology

"We have in this book not only lessons and prescriptions for organizational practice, but also the first step into a new academic discipline—social anthropology of advanced organizations."—Organization Studies

"Making Mondragón should occupy a significant spot on the shelf of all organizational theorists, ethnographers of the workplace, and social scientists of administration. Once again, William Foote Whyte . . . forges new ground and cements his place as one of the premier analysts and qualitative methodologists of American social science. In a career marked by distinction, this book is no exception."—Administrative Science Quarterly

"William F. Whyte was one of the first American scholars to give serious attention both to employee ownership in the U.S. and to the Mondragón worker cooperatives in the Basque region of Spain. . . . In this new book, Whyte and his wife and colleague, Kathleen Whyte, have provided the definitive narrative of the growth of the Mondragon cooperatives. . . . It is a remarkable story, and the Whytes' book provides a detailed description of how the co-ops developed. . . . Using extensive interview data, the Whytes provide a thorough political history. . . . While previous work has focused on the economic performance of Mondragón, this volume focuses on how Mondragón's leaders shaped the system and coped with challenges to it. It is a history compiled with care and obvious admiration. Anyone interested in the Mondragón story needs this book."—Employee Ownership Report

"Making Mondragón is an extremely well-written, well-organized, and easy-to-read book. For scholars and students interested in industrial democracy, employee ownership, and cooperatives, the book provides detailed explanations, diagrams, tables, and case histories. For cooperatives and employee-owned firms elsewhere the book provides useful insights and the lessons that can be learned from the Mondragón experience."—Relations Industrielles

"This well-researched study should be read by anyone with an interest in worker cooperatives, community economic development, and work redesign programs."—Contemporary Sociology

"Making Mondragón is a superb organizational study of an unusual social experiment. I recommend it highly for anyone interested in developing alternative economic structures or for those interested in supporting local entrepreneurship and developing flexible, horizontal systems of small businesses."—Journal of the American Planning Association

"Mondragón has become a name of magic in the history of worker cooperatives and worker ownership. This volume may well become a beacon pointing to the successful expansion of the concept of cooperative employee ownership. It is an extraordinary study of an extraordinary business enterprise."—Irving Bluestone, United Automobile Workers and Wayne State University

Paper reprint of a 1988 report on a complex in the Basque region of Spain (reviewed in the December 1989 UPBN). Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

Meet the Author

William Foote Whyte (1914–2000) was Professor of Sociology at Cornell University and the author of Street Corner Society, Participant Observer, and Learning from the Field.

The late Kathleen King Whyte worked professionally as an editor and artist, collaborating with her husband, William Foote Whyte, on the field research for Making Mondragón and Learning from the Field.

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