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PhD student Spencer Thompson publishes article on worker cooperatives

last modified Mar 30, 2015 03:26 PM

Here are details of the newly published article by PhD student Spencer Thompson:



Title: "Towards a social theory of the firm: Worker cooperatives reconsidered"


Abstract: "This paper argues that the predominant economic theories of the firm neglect the importance of cooperation based on trust and loyalty, and that as a result, their criticisms of worker cooperatives are incomplete. While competence-based theories tend to focus exclusively on coordination and thus fail to acknowledge that the development and application of productive knowledge also involves cooperation, contract-based theories cling to a rigid model of behaviour that does not account for the type of cooperation thus involved. Thus, although contract-based theories denigrate cooperatives for failing to achieve cooperation, cooperatives may in fact be more propitiously situated than conventional firms to achieve the cooperation involved in the development and application of productive knowledge. Meanwhile, although competence-based theories imply that cooperatives are incapable of achieving coordination, cooperatives may in fact be more propitiously situated than conventional firms to achieve coordination without incurring potentially adverse effects on cooperation. This ability, however, may be suppressed by a hostile institutional environment, which biases both the options available to individuals and the way they perceive those options against cooperatives. Although inter-cooperative associations can alleviate this institutional bias, they involve structural and cultural obstacles of their own."

"It has been almost two years since the murder of Giulio Regeni in Cairo. As we approach this anniversary, we are no nearer to knowing the truth of what happened to this promising post-graduate, tortured and killed while pursuing wholly legitimate academic research... It has been especially troubling to note that, in the absence of apparent progress in investigations into Giulio’s death, attention has been turned to his doctoral supervisor, Dr Maha Abdelrahman – an honourable and distinguished scholar..." Stephen J Toope, Vice-Chancellor. To read the message in full, please go to our News page. The message can also be found on the University of Cambridge homepage.

We are delighted and proud to see that the Centre has gone from no.8 (2015) to no.6 (2016) to no.4 (2017) in the field of Development Studies in the QS Survey. This would not have been possible without the dedication and hard work from everyone within the Centre.