Scandinavian countries are known for having a high adoption of cooperative models of work design. This article investigates the role of parity labour market associations, termed intermediary cooperative associations, in the dissemination of these models. Findings are based on an examination of the Centre for the Development of Human Resources and Quality Management (SCKK), a social partnership-based organization that funds workplace development projects at state workplaces, and of nine participative development projects that received financial and logistical support from the SCKK. These projects increased union and management commitment to partnership-based approaches to problem-solving, despite their ambiguous results for both groups. This suggests that intermediary cooperative associations help to enhance the normative legitimacy of participative work practices through the provision of resources and ‘best practice’ management approaches.