This paper provides a concise comparison of matched pairs of conventional and worker-owned co-operative organizations operating in three industries – coal mining, taxicab driving, and organic food distribution. Worker co-operatives try to minimize hierarchy in order to maximize the power and dignity of the workers involved. Specifically, this paper examines workplace dispute resolution, a key factor in the quality of work life, and the alternative of more egalitarian, self-managed workplaces. While we think of such workplaces as being a benefit of certain professional firms, all co-operative workplaces studied here involved mostly positions that required no college education. Nevertheless, members of these co-operatives worked together to create economically stable workplaces with the same or better wages than that of comparable organizations, yet also with a greater quality of work life.


This is the accepted version of Hoffmann, Elizabeth. (2012). Workplace Dispute Resolution and Quality of Work Life: The Worker Co-Operative Alternative. International Journal of Self Help and Self Care. 6. 169-188. 10.2190/SH.6.2.e.

The publisher's version is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.2190/SH.6.2.e

Date of this Version