Mondragon: a holding company of co-operatives faced with globalization
Conference at L’Ecole de Paris, 2005
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The complex of Mondragón co-operatives, founded fifty years ago from a small company in the Spanish Basque country, today comprises more than one hundred and sixteen co-operatives and seventy thousand employees, nearly half of whom are partners. It recently bought the Brandt group, the French leader in household appliances, for one hundred and sixty-two million Euros, thereby becoming the fifth largest household appliance manufacturer in Europe. In addition, the group has gradually set up professional schools, a research centre, as well as providing social services and a bank. How has a system based on co-operatives often considered in France to be small companies without any major ambitions managed to scale such heights ? Does it remain faithful to the principles on which it was founded ? Is it exportable ? How does it face up to global competition in a sector as sensitive as household appliances ?
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