Published: 16 May 2014
A new publication by Professor Johnston Birchall of Stirling University presents a more balanced view of the current situation in the co-operative movement and the governance of large co-operative businesses.
Johnston, who has been an academic studying the co-operative movement globally for many years, says in his introduction:
“It is said that when a conventional company fails, people ask why it failed. When a co-operative fails, people ask whether co-operatives can ever be made to work. This is still true, even after all the disasters that conventional companies have inflicted on the world’s citizens over the last few years. Co-operatives are always going to be in the spotlight because they are different. Things may be changing though. More people are beginning to appreciate the co-operative difference, and see member owned businesses as an alternative to investor ownership. This makes the occasional co-operative failure even harder to bear, because with it go the silent hopes of people who had a suspicion that there might be a better way, but who now feel let down. For these reasons, it is imperative that we make sure that co-operatives are as well governed as possible, and learn by our mistakes.”
What follows are examples of co-operative governance from sixty of the largest co-operatives in the world, and they bring about a much more balanced view than that created by the recent media feeding frenzy over the issues within the Co-operative Group.
Hard copies can also be obtained from Co-operatives UK. Download the publication below.