Power and Voice in Workers’ Co-ops

Living the cooperative principle of democratic member control

We’re carrying out this project with our partners at People Support Co-op. The central themes of the research are “being heard” in worker co-ops and how power is understood and shared within them.

We are working with 3 worker co-ops over 15 months using a Participatory Action Research (PAR) approach—which means the co-ops set the agenda and decide on the key policy and practice areas they want to work on. We work with them to develop these; and then reflect together on how implementation has gone and what further changes may need to be made. All the co-ops we’re working with are businesses who are constantly working out how to live their democratic values whilst keeping their businesses going and ensuring their members can earn a basic level of income – and our work with them tries to be aware of these different needs.

We are undertaking a series of sessions with each co-op, following a cycle of: 

Reflection: working collectively to decide what issues we’d like to explore together related to power and voice;

Action: running workshops and co-design sessions to inform new ways of working together in the coops and/or draw up new policies and procedures; 

Evaluation: collectively exploring how well implementation of new ways of working, or new or amended policies and processes, has gone in the co-ops. 

We are carrying out several of these cycles with each co-op and throughout the process will work with the co-ops to produce knowledge which can be shared with other groups through the RadHR website and events. 

We’ve chosen Participatory Action Research because it offers a collaborative research approach that actively engages people in the process of investigating and addressing issues that affect their lives (in this case, their working lives). PAR is grounded in principles of democracy, social justice, and inclusivity, and aims to allow marginalised voices to be heard and valued.


Coming soon.


If you have any questions about the project, you can contact