Case Summary No. 3

W.L. Gore & Associates Inc.: Workplace Democracy in a Transnational Corporation

Published on 30 June 2019

W. L. Gore and Associates (Gore) is a privately-held multinational company founded in 1958. Since its founding, it has operated through a lattice system of employee self-management which is said to verge on true workplace participatory democracy. Key features include a flat hierarchy in which the CEO is elected, self-managed work teams with small team sizes to secure ownership in collective decision-making, and free information flow. Associates (as the workers are known) step forward to lead when they have the expertise to do so; a practice referred to as knowledge-based decision-making.

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Cannon, M.; Thorpe, J.; Emili, S. and Mader, P. (2019) 'W.L. Gore & Associates Inc.: Workplace Democracy in a Transnational Corporation', Case Summary No. 3, Brighton: IDS


Mariah Cannon

Research Officer

Silvia Emili

Research Assistant

Philip Mader

Research Fellow

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English (UK)


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