Measuring the Performance of Worker Co-operatives

  • Keith Jefferis
  • Alan Thomas


The producer co-operative sector in the UK is, by European standards, relatively small, but it has in recent years demonstrated a remarkable capacity for growth. The number of co-operatives has increased rapidly, from around 300 in 1980 to 1000 by 1986 (CDA, 1980; London ICOM, 1986), but knowledge of co-operative performance is largely based upon case studies (for instance, see Cornforth, Thomas, Lewis and Spear, 1988) rather than on aggregate data covering a broad range of co-operatives. General perceptions are still influenced by the experience of the three ‘Benn co-ops’ in the mid-1970s (Triumph Meriden, KME and the Scottish Daily News) as lame ducks supported by public funds. While no serious attempt was made to assess the value of such spending in job creation terms compared to other publicly-supported ventures (hence leading to under-funding and eventual collapse), they are not typical of the majority of co-operatives today. The sector now consists largely of small co-operatives, started from scratch (Jefferis, 1986), providing less than 9000 jobs in total, and receiving relatively little support from public funds.


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Copyright information

© David J. Cooper & Trevor M. Hopper 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Keith Jefferis
  • Alan Thomas

There are no affiliations available

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