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Worker Participation and Job Satisfaction: are they connected?

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  1. Worker Participation and Job Satisfaction: are they connected? Anthony Jensen Work and Organisational Studies Business School University of Sydney

  2. Agenda • Worker Cooperatives – the opportunity. • Research case studies LMF – 4 country comparison: USA, Australia, Italy and Spain • Methodology. • Research results - participation and job satisfaction • Qualitative Interviews • Quantitative analysis • Conclusions

  3. The Context of our DiscussionsWork and Organisation Studies • The GFC fatally damaged the neo liberal conception of the firm fatally. • The search for the High Performance Work System. • What is the role of the worker cooperative ? How does it inform this debate? • Point of departure – new theoretical model - employment contract and indeterminacy of labour. • Neo liberal firm does not recognize intrinsic value of work. • Job satisfaction and developmental individualism of the worker cooperative seen as the point of departure.

  4. Today’s Question : Can the worker cooperative live up to the expectations ? “We acknowledge the cooperative movement as one of the transforming forces of the present society based on class antagonism”. Documents of the First International “The worker cooperative will resolve the conflict between capital and labour”. John Stuart Mill

  5. Political Perspectives of Worker Cooperatives The cooperative is a form of human organisation that contradicts the norms and values of its profit seeking counterparts. (Litchenstein, 1986:56)

  6. Job SatisfactionMaslow’s hierarchy of Needs

  7. An Australian workers view • Job satisfaction ? – sometimes ! • Enjoy coming to work • Going home happy • Achieving goals • Enjoy making things • Treated fairly

  8. Case Studies – Manufacturing Firms

  9. 1. Survey Results:Priorities of Employee Owners Extrinsic and Intrinsic “It was important to save our jobs, it was important to stay close to our trade, it was important to be happy”. Italian Worker Cooperative Member

  10. 2. Survey Results:Countries - Intrinsic vs Extrinsic Job Satisfaction

  11. 3. Survey Results:Job Satisfaction – Country comparison

  12. 4. Survey Results Italy: Class -Blue Collar Satisfaction with Global factors Personally I love this job as I have always done this job and so we care for the product we are going to make. From the raw material to the final product – the finished product. Its like a fluid stream. Its just like one big department that works in a cohesive way joined up – joined up with love and passion. We look at the materials we are working with care and a passion for it. (SOCAM - blue collar worker)

  13. Job Satisfaction in an Italian Cooperative • I believe in cooperatives instead of the capitalist firm. I used to believe in cooperatives and I still believe in cooperatives,and I believe in the job and the work and the effort we put in the cooperative. (SOCUM Blue Collar Worker) • By forming a cooperative we managed to overcome the bankruptcy of the enterprise that existed before and the positive thing was that by forming this cooperative we managed to overcome not just an enterprise crisis but also a personal crisis. We found that from being 60 or more employees on the dole that by forming a cooperative we were able to create a place of work so as not to create a trauma for our families to move to another place to find a job and it was in that way to sustain our families and give a future to our sons and daughters and wives. (SOCUM Blue Collar Worker)

  14. Marx fulfilled? • Hired labour (like slave and serf labour) is destined to disappear before associated labour plying its toil with a willing hand and a joyous heart (Marx 1973:10). • Conditions created for the first time for man to be fully human • Process at core of historical materialism - men make their own history • Man liberated from alienated condition which existed since private property and division of labour. • Why - Marx was conditionally supportive of worker co-operatives as a tranforming force if associated with the labour movement, minimized the hire of non members, and contributed funds to the advance of cooperatives • Conclusion:This parallels the Italian worker cooperative sector?

  15. Conclusions 1. Core finding –global influence and global satisfaction are strongly and positively correlated ( Cronbacks Alpha 0.934, Spearmans rho 0.563). • Workers who perceive that they have a strong degree of influence are likely to be more satisfied with their work. • Building block of the HPWS 2. Intrinsic and extrinsic satisfaction are strongly correlated ( Cronbacks Alpha 0.853,Spearman’s rho 0.495) • Not causal but complementary and work together • Intrinsic satisfaction greater for white than blue collar except in Italy. • Significant difference between blue and white collar worker across all items 3. European respondents happier, more satisfied than the USA – global influence a contributor.