Co-operative Governance Fit to Build Resilience in the Face of Complexity

International Co-operative Alliance

Year: 2015

A think piece, such as this one on governance in co-operatives, is designed to be thoughtprovoking and invite debates and discussions, agreements and disagreements, new ideas and reassurances. Our intent is to initiate rich conversations and motivate co-operative members and leadership to re-examine the wide-ranging systems of governance they are a part of. Are these systems conducive to multi-layered participatory frameworks? Are channels of communication open throughout the organization and into the community?

Starting from the Blueprint’s vision for elevated participation within the co-operative movement (see p. 135), we also look at the economic trends that call for networked governance. Global society is facing new trends in which co-operatives are seen to be the enterprises of the future. How can co-operative governance match those trends and expectations?

Our introduction is built on those premises: looking to increased complexity in the socioeconomic milieu that demands structures which build resilience, coupled with vibrancy of new networked social movements and co-produced technology, we highlight the characteristics of co-operative governance fit for the demands of the emerging socio-economic systems. Our introductory remarks present the building blocks of such co-operative governance systems, followed by a group of contributors who present a select sample of experiences in co-operatives, allowing us just a glimpse into the diverse world of co-operatives today. This document is opening the space for what we hope will be rich ongoing conversations and evolution into the next decade and beyond.

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Table of Contents

Statement on the Co-operative Identity
Pauline Green President International Co-operative Alliance
1. INTRODUCTION: Co-operative Governance Fit to Build Resilience in the Face of Complexity
      Sonja Novkovic and Karen Miner
2. The design of effective democratic governance structures for large co-operatives
     Johnston Birchall
3. Governing Resilient Co-operatives: Agricultural Co-operatives in Scotland
     Richard Simmons, Bob Yuill, Jim Booth
4. Creating Competitive Advantage in Agricultural Co-operatives through Improving Governance Systems and Enhancing Member and Community Engagement
     Yoshiaki Masuda, Tetsuji Senda, Kengo Nishii
5. Worker Co-operatives In Focus
a. Governance in Mondragon
     Frederick Freundlich
b. Co-operation as Conversation: Suma Wholefoods UK
     Bob Cannell, Suma member
c. Union Cab of Madison, Wisconsin, USA
     John McNamara
6. Governance of European Co-operative Banks: Overview, Issues and Recommendations
     Hans Groeneveld
7. The eternal triangle: the crucial role of the Chair and Chief Executive in empowering the board
     Chris Cornforth
8. Governing Resilient Co-operatives: A competence based model
     Cliff Mills
9. Finding the Balance: Staying Focused on the Local Member
     Patrick G. Mangan
10. Governance in Solidarity
     Jean-Pierre Girard
Co-operative Governance and the Blueprint for a Co-operative Decade