London School of Economics
By means of qualitative analysis, this paper examines the organisational cultures underlying three worker cooperatives in the San Francisco Bay Area. 20 workers were interviewed and the transcripts were subsequently analysed along Edgar Schein's cultural framework. The findings show that overall the culture of these worker cooperatives is people-centred: the wellbeing of the workers comes first and the concern for making a profit comes only second. This is expressed through three underlying assumptions: agency; the fact that workers actively take part in their working lives; authenticity, the notion that workers prefer and honest and humane approach to work; and belonging, the need for being part of a thriving community of both workers and oftentimes also customers.