Making Mondragón

Making Mondragón

The Growth and Dynamics of the Worker Cooperative Complex

Since its founding in 1956 in Spain's Basque region, the Mondragón Corporation has been a touchstone for the international cooperative movement. Its nearly three hundred companies and organizations span areas from finance to education. In its industrial sector Mondragón has had a rich experience over many years in manufacturing products as varied as furniture, kitchen equipment, machine tools, and electronic components and in printing, shipbuilding, and metal smelting.

Making Mondragón is a groundbreaking look at the history of worker ownership in the Spanish cooperative. First published in 1988, it remains the best source for those looking to glean a rich body of ideas for potential adaptation and implementation elsewhere from Mondragón's long and varied experience. This second edition, published in 1991, takes into account the major structural and strategic changes that were being implemented in 1990 to allow the enterprise to compete successfully in the European common market.

Mondragón has created social inventions and developed social structures and social processes that have enabled it to overcome some of the major obstacles faced by other worker cooperatives in the past. William Foote Whyte and Kathleen King Whyte describe the creation and evolution of the Mondragón cooperatives, how they have changed through decades of experience, and how they have struggled to maintain a balance between their social commitments and economic realities. The lessons of Mondragón apply most clearly to worker cooperatives and other employee-owned firms, but also extend to regional development and stimulating and supporting entrepreneurship, whatever the form of ownership.