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Sustaining democratic member-owned firms by designing suitable management

Sébastien Gand
Mathias Béjean


The tension towards management functions is all the more fundamental in Democratic Member-owned Firms (DMFs), such as co-operatives, as this kind of firm has developed against the ‘conventional’ managerial hierarchy. What show degenerations of DMFs, be it for a business failure or a democratic withdrawal, is the very issue of designing adapted management functions in such firms. This implies to go further than current approaches which mainly rest on ‘conventional’ approaches of management functions. We investigate this issue through in-depth and longitudinal case-studies in two DMFs confronted with the need for transforming their management functions. New perspectives on the management of DMFs emerge from the case-studies. Particularly, linking the design of management functions with correlated “spaces of participation” appears as a way to generate dynamic collective learnings for the business activity management and also to ‘regenerate’ the democratic functioning. We contribute to its theorization, showing the need of an ‘integrative’ and ‘expansive’ vision of management to avoid irreversible degeneration. This also opens new ways to grasp the management issue of linking employee ownership and participation.
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hal-01133993 , version 1 (20-03-2015)


  • HAL Id : hal-01133993 , version 1


Sébastien Gand, Mathias Béjean. Sustaining democratic member-owned firms by designing suitable management. European Academy of Management (EURAM), May 2007, Paris, France. ⟨hal-01133993⟩
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