"The Mondragon Co-operative Federation: A Model for Our Times?". Another significant aspect of Mondragon is the cooperatives’ mission in helping individuals accomplish personal development as well as foster collective achievement. My 1999 PhD thesis and Mondragon book,Jobs of Our Own: Building a Stakeholder Society, set out in detail the origins of the co-operatives, how they work and the outcomes that have been achieved. The Mondragón Cooperative Corporation is a 35 year old experiment in building a comprehensive cooperative society in which labor plays the primary and dominant role. Created by Father Jose Maria in 1956, Mondragon consists of 102 internationally competitive cooperatives that offer employment to over 73,000 employees. As wages are more equally distributed among the cooperative’s employees, you will seldom see Mondragon employees driving Rolls-Royces. Innovation. Mondragon’s core values also entail the promotion of healthier relationships between workers and management. Jon Wang is a sophomore this year at Bucknell University majoring in international relations and minoring in economics with a concentration in sustainability and economic development in Asia. They have established research centers, bank and credit unions, a university with several campuses, youth cooperatives, a culinary arts university, and small to large businesses. Tremlett, Giles. Mondragon University is a cooperative university, founded in 1997 and officially recognised under Act 4/1997 of 30 May, albeit comprised of three educational cooperatives (Mondragon Higher Polytechnic School S.Coop, Enpresagintza S.Coop and Teacher Training School S.Coop). Participation: Grassroots management. Winter, 1996. pp. MARKETS WITH ITS OWN MODEL BASED ON PEOPLE AND INTERCOOPERATION. Today, it consists of 98 cooperatives with more than 80,000 employees in areas of finance, industry, retail, and knowledge … Richard Feldman, "An Illustrated Guide to the Internal Capital Account System for Worker-Owned Cooperatives," The ICA Group (1988) 9. It is no mean task to convert the cooperative model into something universal. In analysis of present-day economic trends, if current wealth gaps continue to widen between capitalists and households, the phenomenon would increasingly jeopardize the ability of middle class citizens to live comfortable, competent lifestyles (i.e. OUR ROADMAP MORE COMPETITIVE, COOPERATIVE AND FLEXIBLE. Currently, the MCC is comprised of 135 firms. "Mondragon: Spain's Giant Co-Operative Where Times Are Hard But Few Go Bust". Our CMM has several interlocking elements, summarized below: Cooperation: Owners and protagonists. They took the success of the Mondragón cooperatives as a model and created an urban economic plan with cooperatives and local production a… He is a former federal MP and state MP and Minister. As a participatory organization, Mondragon employees don’t necessarily have managers or supervisors (Wolff, 2012). Frequently, Mondragon in the Spanish Basque region – widely considered the most successful worker-owned cooperative enterprise in the world – is discussed as a model. One common issue within US firms has been poor relationships between workers and management. Gorka Lejarcegi. Even so, the ongoing economic crisis has not left the co-operatives unscathed, and their return to growth has only recently gained momentum. Taking an early opportunity to see for myself, it was impossible not to be impressed by what was already the world’s largest grouping of worker co-operatives, and my admiration has grown over subsequent visits, most recently late last year. The structure of Mondragon University provides … 4th ed. Copyright © 2010–2020, The Conversation US, Inc. Jobs of Our Own: Building a Stakeholder Society, unemployment nationally is in excess of 25%, http://www.eventbrite.com.au/event/4470958758/. During his free time, he enjoys watching sports and playing music. Members can agree to forfeit or postpone entitlements such as one or more of their fourteen per annum pay packets or the payment of interest on their individual capital accounts, or in extreme circumstances authorise individual capital account draw-downs. The Mondragón co-operative movement, born in the 1950s around the local ... Flecha, R., and Ngai, P. (2014), ‘The Challenge for Mondragon: Searching for the Cooperative Values in Times of Internationalization’, Organization, 21(5), 666– 82. The Guardian. Therefore, Mondragon, in offering employees shorter working weeks and paid time off, places value on worker happiness. WE ARE MONDRAGON A PROJECT SPANNING MORE THAN 60 YEARS, COMPETING IN GLOBAL. 6 known for his love of the Basque language and culture. For example, capital for expanding existing businesses and establishing new ones is drawn in part from the group’s bank and social insurance funds and workers are skilled to high levels at a university of technology, which is itself structured as a co-operative and attracts students in disciplines such as engineering and metallurgy throughout Spain. Mondragon co-operatives now own or joint venture some 114 local and overseas subsidiaries, and are committed to their conversion to employee ownership on a case-by-case basis, consistent with local laws, customs and other cultural and economic considerations. MONDRAGON’s Corporate Management Model Our Corporate Management Model (CMM) provides the Corporation’s Cooperatives with guidelines for their everyday business management in a manner so that they are both efficient and consistent with our corporate culture and ownership values. For example, non-members employed on a temporary basis can be put off until conditions improve. The Fagor plant has shifted production from white goods and household appliances to machinery. In fact, the machines are so sophisticated that they can manufacture four models of refrigerators simultaneously. ... Mariposa Food Co-op, that looks at the role of cooperatives in building social justice. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/jun/24/alternative-capitalism-mondragon. Co-operatives experiencing reduced demand are able to transfer members to ones where it is increasing, without detriment to their rights or entitlements. The current chairman, Jose Maria Aldecoa says, “the co-operative model is absolutely flawed, but it has shown itself the least flawed in a crisis of values and models”. Mondragon can serve as a model of how grassroots economic development creates strong viable businesses, local economic prosperity, and jobs that empower workers through cooperation. In analysis of the current state of the US’ economy, some of the most significant issues facing households are wage solidarity, structure of management, education, and perspectives on capital utilization. It’s the way of life. At the moment, Mondragón has decided to establish a dual corporative system that involves the coexistence of cooperative societies and corporations. Bowles, Samuel, Richard Edwards, and Frank Roosevelt. Jose Luis Lafuente, Mondragon's Corporate Management Model specialist. Values. The essentials of the Mondragon story are simple. 8 The Basque name for Mondragon is Arrasate, but Mondragon is the more common usage. The success of Mondragon and other worker cooperatives such as The Co-operative group, Amul Dairy and Suma makes a strong case for worker cooperatives as successful capitalism in a liberal democratic age. Libertarian Labor Review. The Mondragon Cooperative Group Today The Mondragon Cooperative Corporation (MCC) is a highly complex federation of cooperatives bound together by much more than a formal contract of association. The worker/owners and the managers met to review their options. In 2012 Richard D. Wolff, an American professor of economics, hailed the Mondragon set of enterprises, including the good wages it provides for employees, the empowerment of ordinary workers in decision making, and the measure of equality for female workers, as a major success and cited it as a working model of an alternative to the capitalist mode of production. The cooperative from the Basque Region is now a model for companies and governments around the globe. This has, in turn, affected household ability to afford even necessities, such as adequate health care and nutrition – all of which entrap families in generations of financial hardship. However, cooperatives, such as Mondragon, consist of significantly compressed wage scales compared to capitalist firms, as members of the cooperative have the ability to vote on the distribution of wages and employee benefits (Wolff, 2012). Mondragon, by granting workers with the democratic ability and autonomy to choose who supervises their cooperative, is allowing employees the ability to select supervising officials they believe are best suited for their cooperative which, in turn, enhances worker-supervisor relations (Tremlett, 2013). The Mondragon Cooperative Group, which is the 10th-largest entrepreneurial group in Spain, is one of the most outstanding examples of worker cooperatives in history (Mondragon Corporation, 2013). Specifically, unlike most traditional US firms, Mondragon does not seek profit maximization at the expense of employee welfare (Tremlett, 2013). As a result, the wage compression creates greater internal productivity as workers receive a higher share of profits, thereby offering employees greater motivation in their work. Therefore, rather than completing tasks under the alienating eye of a supervisor, employees of Mondragon work out of passion for their occupation and their drive to excel (Wolff, 2012). Furthermore, although mechanization is heavily used within the different cooperatives, manufacturing procedures are customized for specific applications (Wolff, 2012). Faced in the aftermath of the global financial crisis with circumstances — where unemployment nationally is in excess of 25% and 53% among young people — Mondragon has demonstrated impressive resilience in helping keep jobless levels in the Basque region to under half the national average. He will be studying abroad next fall, participating in IFSA Butler's International Business program in Shanghai, China. Number 19. However, this might just be the answer to some of the problems currently surrounding wage labor in the United States. At Mondragon, cooperative education is framed as teaching people group process, for example, teaching members how to make decisions together. In order for cooperatives, such as Mondragon, to be economically successful, they must be able to offer goods and services that are within households’ marginal propensity to consume and embody enough utility for them to even consider purchasing. His As motivational incentives, workers are granted portions of corporate earnings and also have the ability to decide how company surpluses are spent. In 2011, the Basque Culinary Center was created and became part of Mondragon University. (May 2007). Specifically, one notable privilege that is bestowed upon Mondragon employees is their ability to choose management. To provide further incentive, employees are also granted a share of corporate earnings (Tremlett, 2013). Mondragon is a highly successful cooperative model with over 60 years of proven success. This notion is different than capitalist firms where hierarchies inadvertently deter healthy relationships among workers and supervisors and avert the ability of workers to select the manager they think best for their corporation (Wolff, 2012). Therefore, by structuring the cooperative in this way, higher productivity and healthier work environments can be achieved. Of these 91 are worker cooperatives and 44 are holding companies that are partly or The Mondragon model: how a Basque cooperative defied Spain’s economic crisis ... of intensive research and development is the augmenting of … Faced repeatedly over their 50-year lifespan with cyclical economic downturns, the co-operatives have been able to avail themselves of significant flexibilities. Through this analysis we can see that the efficiency of capitalism is derived from the exploitation of labor and fierce competition with other firms. I recently had the opportunity to visit Mondragon, Spain to immerse myself into the world of worker-cooperatives. Race Mathews returned recently from the fifth of a series of visits to Mondragon, dating back to the middle 1980s. That way, according to the study, between 40% and 50% of MCC employees are not officially its members. With such an imperative enforced on extracting surplus value and profit squeezing, the goal of maximizing revenue has occurred at the expense of household and, more specifically, employee welfare. Here’s how it played out when one of the Mondragón cooperatives fell on hard times. Essentially, these populations of low skilled labor lack the bargaining power to achieve higher wages (Wolff, 2012). Following the global financial crisis in 2008, the Mondragon Cooperative Corporation was used as an example of an alternative to capitalist development. And supplementary capital can be accessed from centrally held inter-co-operative solidarity funds. These transformations, they suggest, sow seeds of socialism, or at least a more democratic and just capitalism – a welcome message after decades of virulent neoliberalism. The collapse in 2013 of Fagor, Spain’s leading electrical appliances manufacturer, was a powerful symbol of the country’s economic woes, and saw 1,895 members of the Basque Country cooperative lose their jobs.For six decades, Fagor, based in the town of Mondragón, … As a result, all manufacturing processes within the cooperatives require continued human intervention, thereby providing continued, secure employment opportunities for workers. As equal co-owners of their workplaces, members enjoy job security together with individual capital holdings, equal sharing of profits on a proportionate basis and an equal ‘one-member one vote’ say in their governance. Worker Cooperative Statute in Massachusetts," 11 NYU Review of Law & Social Change 441 (1982-1983) 7. The cooperative group’s Caja Laboral credit union — effectively Spain’s ninth largest bank — is recovering from a 75% reduction in its profitability. Senior Research Fellow (retired 1998), doctoral candidate, University of Divinity. Consequently, workers can be less motivated, or even alienated, by their occupations. When looking at the Mondragon model as a whole, one of the major inefficiencies of the model is significant production costs. health care, housing, education). https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/mar/07/mondragon-spains-giant-cooperative. Founded by a Basque Catholic priest, Father Don José María Arizmendiarrieta, in the 1950s, the cooperatives began with one small worker-owned business that made kerosene stoves. Remuneration within the cooperatives is egalitarian, with the highest rates payable other than in exceptional circumstances being no greater than six and a half times the lowest. Fagor, Spain’s largest manufacturer of domestic appliances (and also part of the Mondragon cooperative), has successfully managed down production by 30 to 40% in the face of a precipitous contraction of the consumer durables market. Details and registration for Monday’s free public lecture and Q&A dinner with Mondragon spokesman, Mikel Lezamiz, are at http://www.eventbrite.com.au/event/4470958758/. To ensure that this demise is avoided, the US firms should strive to follow Mondragon and its associated ideology. Mondragon Cooperative Complex, of which ULGOR was the first of many connected cooperatives, had 21,241 member employees. The Mondragón Cooperative Corporation (MCC), the largest consortium of worker-owned companies, has developed a different way of doing business —a way that puts workers, not shareholders, first. References “Co-operative Experience.” Mondragon Corporation. Cooperation and the cooperative principles are steeped in the culture. For instance, the largest Mondragon cooperative, FAGOR, is reputed to operate the most automated refrigeration assembly line in Spain. Reflective of the high priority attached by the primary co-operatives to the competitive advantage of intensive research and development is the augmenting of the original Ikerlan research and development support co-operative with thirteen sister bodies, specialising in the needs of particular aspects of manufacturing activity and product development. Overall, Mondragon presents a unique model of collective ownership and democratic capitalism in an age awash with the opposite. At the time of my first visit in 1985, their R&D priorities were already industrial robotics, computer assisted design and control systems, artificial intelligence and sustainable energy sources. Although Mondragon does embody a profit motive and operates to create revenue and jobs, profits remain second in importance to employee care and social values. Back in the early 1980s, the former Secretary of State for Education in Harold Wilson’s Labour government, Shirley Williams, alerted me to a remarkable instance of regional economic development through employee empowerment, centred on Mondragon in the Basque region of Spain. One may argue that the Mondragon model is promoting socialist economic concepts. What arose in 1956 as a handful of workers in a disused factory, using hand tools and sheet metal to make oil-fired heating and cooking stoves is today a massive conglomerate of some 260 manufacturing, retail, financial, agricultural, civil engineering and support co-operatives and associated entities, with jobs for 83,800 workers, and annual sales in excess of $US20 billion. And, the Mondragón Cooperatives have proven it with their highly successful model of worker-owned and democratically run businesses. The Mondragon Cooperative Group has engaged in a domestic expansion process since the early 1960s and internationally since the 1990s. The Cooperative Group has amassed technical, managerial These measures often include the lengthening of the working day as well as pressure by managers to meet lofty goals. Mondragon on the other hand has realized the importance of technology in the modern economy. 2012. Mondragon today consists of 102 individual cooperatives united in a federation called the Mondragon Cooperative Corporation, which is also organized as a cooperative. MONDRAGON is Cooperation A cooperative socioeconomic project, with dedicated people working in global companies that are profitable, competitive and enterprising, acknowledged for their human values, social impact and competitiveness. However, as a result of de-industrialization in large parts of the USA, many of the factories in Cleveland closed down. Trust among coworkers and supervisors within the Mondragon Cooperative reduces the need for managers to closely monitor employees. MONDRAGON Corporation is the embodiment of the co-operative movement that began in 1956, the year that witnessed the creation of the first industrial cooperative in Mondragón in the province of Gipuzkoa; its business philosophy is contained in its Corporate Values: Cooperation. David Ellerman, "The Mondragon Cooperative Movement," Harvard Business School Case Study (1982) 8. The Mondragon experiment seems to prove that a corporation can be globally competitive without abandoning cooperative ideals and principles of worker participation. Mondragon uses this organizational approach to augment the involvement of workers in Mondragon’s initiatives as well as their participation in the management of the company. One wonders what lessons for productivity, workplace wellbeing and industrial harmony might Australia learn from the Mondragon model of business. Most of the cooperatives are deemed as economically sustainable, constituting a small, less competitive niche market (Wolff, 2012). The Mondragon Cooperative Corporation is a business-based, socioeconomic program that is committed to serving the interests of the environment, individual competitive improvement, and customer satisfaction (Tremlett, 2013). Amidst the fierce increasing competition among workers for employment in the United States’ economy, finding a means of subsistence has become increasingly harder for the population of skilled American households. Although beneficial for domestic workers, efforts to cultivate better work environments and conditions have lead to increases in capital costs and, ultimately, prices of final goods that are produced by the cooperative. The Mondragon Cooperative Corporation is a business-based, socioeconomic program that is committed to serving the interests of the environment, individual competitive improvement, and customer satisfaction (Tremlett, 2013). In the last half of the twentieth century, Mondragon has grown and developed a unique worker democracy in But the people of Cleveland did not simply accept this situation. Noteworthy in particular is their commitment to manufacturing excellence and export growth, through cutting edge technological innovation. Therefore, by lowering labor costs, capitalists are able to receive higher profit margins. Since its founding in 1956 by Father Jose Maria Arizmendiarrieta, Mondragon has become the world’s largest and most advanced cooperative economy. 2013. It consisted of a complex of more than one hundred enterprises and was worth more than $2.6 billion. One example is Cleveland, USA. 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