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Dispute Resolution in a Worker Cooperative: Formal Procedures and Procedural Justice


  • This research was partially supported by a National Science Foundation grant, No. SBR-9801948. The author would like to thank the reviewers for their diverse and complimentary insights; the editor, especially for his suggestions regarding the presentation of the data; my colleagues who commented on this article, in particular Scott Barclay, Jim Yocom, Brian Gran, Rachel Einwohner, and Lauren Edelman; and, finally, the interviewees for their cooperation and openness.

concerning this article should be addressed to Elizabeth A. Hoffmann, Purdue University, Law & Society Program, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Stone Hall, 700 West State Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907; e-mail:


While most research on workplace grievance resolution focuses on hierarchical settings, this study examines grievance resolution in a worker cooperative, a workplace mutually owned and democratically managed. Drawing on data from in-depth interviews and observations, this research explores how workers' perceptions of procedural justice influence their anticipated grievance strategies. Despite working side by side in the same organization, both men and women had very different experiences regarding procedural justice and dispute resolution. For men, working at a cooperative meant informal dispute resolution strategies, while the women cited the cooperative identity as empowering them to use formal grievance procedures.