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Katherine Sobering

Research Findings

Can workplaces foster equality?

December 19, 2019

Work organizations are often seen as the engines of inequality: they sort people into jobs with different opportunities, they pay people differently, and they reserve power for a select few.  But we know far less about how organizations foster equality in the workplace by allowing occupational mobility, reducing wage disparities, and distributing power among many.

In a recent article, I examine one workplace that adopted such equality-producing practices. Over nearly a decade, I conducted research on worker-recuperated businesses in Argentina, which are companies that have converted from privately-owned enterprises into worker-controlled cooperatives. Today, there are nearly 400 worker-recuperated businesses operating in Argentina. And most of these are organized as worker cooperatives that are owned and operated by their members.

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