Worker-recovered firms represent a novel means of creating new cooperatives, created through workers’ buyouts (WBOs), which refer to “the restructuring, rescue or conversion of a firm by workers, who buy the property”. In Italy, recovery is supported by a vast legislative apparatus (such as the Marcora Law) and by cooperative world. This paper reflects on the processes of resistance to closure and the resulting job loss that allow experimenting with new organizational practices within a different logic of management policies, such as solidarity and job protection. Presenting a case study with an inductive chain of reasoning we identify the articulation of institutional opportunities present in the Italian context and highlight which organizational processes are generated in the recovery and conversion of a WBO firm characterized as a “hybrid organization”. The paper first focuses on the Italian context with reference to existing secondary data and published material, clarifying why this organizational transformation must be explained within an institutional framework. Then outlines the theoretical background that allowed us to explore the organizational functioning of WBOs through the framework of institutional theory. Finally, we present the results and conclude with a discussion of our empirical and theoretical contribution.

Bridge over troubled water: an Italian case study of a worker-recovered firm

Marco Zurru
;
Barbara Barbieri
;
2022

Abstract

Worker-recovered firms represent a novel means of creating new cooperatives, created through workers’ buyouts (WBOs), which refer to “the restructuring, rescue or conversion of a firm by workers, who buy the property”. In Italy, recovery is supported by a vast legislative apparatus (such as the Marcora Law) and by cooperative world. This paper reflects on the processes of resistance to closure and the resulting job loss that allow experimenting with new organizational practices within a different logic of management policies, such as solidarity and job protection. Presenting a case study with an inductive chain of reasoning we identify the articulation of institutional opportunities present in the Italian context and highlight which organizational processes are generated in the recovery and conversion of a WBO firm characterized as a “hybrid organization”. The paper first focuses on the Italian context with reference to existing secondary data and published material, clarifying why this organizational transformation must be explained within an institutional framework. Then outlines the theoretical background that allowed us to explore the organizational functioning of WBOs through the framework of institutional theory. Finally, we present the results and conclude with a discussion of our empirical and theoretical contribution.
Workers buyout, hybrid firms, case study, institutional theory, re-localization, re-orientation
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11584/342194
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