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Organizing sustainable democratic firms: processes of regeneration as the design of new models of cooperation

Abstract : In a period of economic and legitimacy crises for firms, there is a current appeal on alternative firms to the conventional capitalist and hierarchical one, especially ones with a democratic form such as cooperatives. But for a long time the "degeneration" pattern of democratic firms, namely their economic failure or the abandonment of democratic functioning, has been pointed out. Even if such a deterministic rationale has been contested, the main difficulty for democratic firms remains their capacity to overcome degeneration crises. This paper investigates this question through the case of a 400-member democratic professional service firm, studied during three years with an intervention research method. It shows how such a firm designed organizational outcomes to a twofold crisis of performance and governance. It contributes to a better understanding of the conditions of sustainability of democratic firms by emphasizing the possibility of designing new models of cooperation, which integrate various constraints and do not compromise between antagonist logics within the firm.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, November 12, 2013 - 11:13:47 AM
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Sébastien Gand, Mathias Béjean. Organizing sustainable democratic firms: processes of regeneration as the design of new models of cooperation. 13th Annual Conference of the European Academy of Management, EURAM 2013, Jun 2013, Istanbul, Turkey. 30 p. ⟨hal-00881721⟩

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