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

Author/s Marco Zurru, Barbara Barbieri, Alessia Contu
Publishing Year 2022 Issue 2022/1
Language English Pages 29 P. 21-49 File size 230 KB
DOI 10.3280/SO2022-001002
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Worker-recovered firms represent a new type of cooperatives, created through workers’ buyouts (WBOs), whereby workers buy the property of the firm to re-structure, rescue or convert it. In Italy, recovery is supported by a vast legislative apparatus (such as the Marcora Law) and by the cooperative world. This paper reflects on the processes of resistance to closure and the resulting job loss that al-low experimenting with new organizational practices within a different logic of management, 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. It 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.

Keywords: Workers’ buyout, hybrid firms, case study, institutional theory, re-localization, re-orientation

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Marco Zurru, Barbara Barbieri, Alessia Contu, Bridge over troubled water: an Italian case study of a worker-recovered firm in "STUDI ORGANIZZATIVI " 1/2022, pp 21-49, DOI: 10.3280/SO2022-001002