In a Workers’ Self-Directed Enterprise, no separate group of persons—no individual who does not participate in the work of the enterprise—can be a member of the board of directors. Instead, all the workers who produce the surplus generated inside the enterprise function collectively to appropriate and distribute it. They alone comprise the board of directors. The workers collectively determine what the enterprise produces, the appropriate technology, the location of production, and related matters. They do this in conjunction with the surrounding communities at the local, regional, and national levels.

Here are some examples of actual WSDEs.

Worker-owned enterprises

When workers partly or completely own the corporate enterprises in which they work, they occupy a position like that of other shareholders within private capitalism.


A cooperative refers to an aspect of the structure of the enterprise, even if its overall operations remain capitalistic.

Worker-managed enterprises

Under worker-managed enterprises, workers who perform managerial functions do not thereby displace capitalists or move the economy beyond capitalism.