Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Co-operative Ownership and Control at Tower Colliery: the Creation of a Human Firm?

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-02-28, 13:05 authored by Russell Smith
This paper presents a review of a worker owned and controlled cooperative, Tower Colliery, over its 13-year existence within a ‘Human Firm’ analytical framework. The Human Firm approach highlights the importance of organisational capital in ensuring that firms can simultaneously achieve, satisfactorily, both economic and social objectives. Such organisational capital investments enable the firm to develop capabilities that ensure it is conjointly rational in its decision making; socially responsible; enterprising; and a learning organisation. Full achievement of such goals is defined as an idealised ‘Z-firm’. While Tower Colliery made significant progress towards the Z-firm ideal during its operational lifetime, the paper concludes that three significant areas of tension remained unaddressed.


Published in

Journal of Co-operative Studies


UK Society for Co-operative Studies


  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)


Smith, R. (2015) 'Co-operative Ownership and Control at Tower Colliery: the Creation of a Human Firm?', Journal of Co-operative Studies, 48 (2), pp. 16-27

Print ISSN

0961 5784

Cardiff Met Affiliation

  • Cardiff School of Management

Cardiff Met Authors

Russell Smith

Cardiff Met Research Centre/Group

  • Welsh Centre for Business and Management Research

Copyright Holder

  • © The Publisher


  • en