Can cooperatives/employee-owned businesses improve ‘bad jobs’?

Dr Wil Chivers presented his WISERD research on job quality in low paid sectors at a seminar to the Wales Cooperative. His presentation, with Dr Sarah Jenkins from Cardiff Business School, asked: “Can cooperatives/employee-owned businesses improve ‘bad jobs’?”

Job quality has received increased attention from academics and policymakers across industrialised countries. Yet, there has been limited assessment of how job quality is impacted by different organisational forms, including cooperatives and employee-owned businesses (EOBs).

Although there has been growing interest in how cooperatives/EOBs impact on employee outcomes, comprehensive assessments of the range and reasons for varied employee outcomes in these settings are underdeveloped.

To address these gaps, their study examines whether cooperatives and EOBs can improve ‘bad’ jobs by examining three in-depth qualitative case studies of different types of cooperatives/EOBs forms located in low-paid sectors of the economy in Wales: social care, transport and manufacturing.

The study seeks to contribute to recent academic assessments of employee outcomes to explore whether job quality is influenced by different organisational forms, including cooperatives and EOBs. They extend existing discussions relating to salient explanations for job quality by developing a contextualised assessment to examine the extent to which workplace actors can improve ‘bad’ jobs.

You can find out more about this work in Dr Chivers’ recent paper with Dr Sarah Jenkins from Cardiff Business School.