This paper compares dispute-resolution behavior at a large coal mine in South Wales at two times: when the mine was run as a conventional, hierarchical organization by British Coal and, several years later, when it was bought out by the employees and converted into a worker cooperative. Synthesizing themes from law and society, organizational theory, and alternative dispute resolution (ADR) research, I demonstrate how shared ownership, flattened hierarchy, and cooperative ideology impact on disputing behavior. By changing from a hierarchical organization to a worker cooperative, the coal mine increased its level of procedural justice and transformed its dispute-resolution behavior to rely much more on informal resolution. Using qualitative methods, this research draws on 42 in-depth open interviews with miners and managers.


This is the accepted version of Hoffmann, Elizabeth A. “Confrontations and Compromise: Dispute Resolution at a Worker Cooperative Coal Mine.” Law & Social Inquiry, vol. 26, no. 3, 2001, pp. 555–96. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/829111. Accessed 12 Oct. 2022.

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