Reducing Hierarchies for Improved Equality in the Workplace?: The Case of the Worker Cooperative Vio.Me, Greece
Part of the reason why cooperative organizations are formed is to strive towards a more equal decision-making in the workplace. Due to their potential horizontal structure, cooperatives are seen as organizations which increase the sense of equality among its members. Thus, in times of economic recession, where unemployment rises and labor conditions become tougher, cooperative organizations are seen as alternative, bottom-up solutions. However, as hierarchical structures are predominant in nearly every type of organization, it is not clear to what extend an organization can use more egalitarian ways of working together. In order to examine whether a cooperative organization can be based on a horizontal foundation, this thesis draws attention to Greece and particularly, the worker cooperative of Vio.Me. More precisely, after archival and fieldwork research at Vio.Me’s cooperative, and by focusing on Vio.Me’s organizational structure, its decision-making processes, its channels of communication and the market in which it operates, this thesis indicates that, Vio.Me’s cooperative has been able to eliminate to a great extent the hierarchical relations thereby promoting improved equality in the workplace and thus, with regards to the thesis delimitations its model seems be able to be replicated for other cooperatives.