The Governance of Large Co-operative Businesses

06 Feb 2018

Download the report "The Governance of Large Co-operative Businesses" here in English.

The report, written by Professor Johnston Birchall of Stirling University and published by Co-operatives UK (in January 2018), examines how the world’s 60 largest co-operatives ensure that their customers, employees and suppliers have meaningful influence over what the businesses do. 

There are three qualities of governance systems that emerge as most relevant, with different emphasis in different co-operatives in terms of a settlement on where the balance should lie. These are to achieve representation, expertise or member voice. Only when all three types of authority are present can a co-operative be governed effectively, according to the study. However, there can be trade-offs between them, and the challenge of governance design is to encourage an optimal balance for the co-operative over time. 

The research focused on sixty of the largest co-operatives across a range of sectors, an updated list that follows the outline of the annual World Co-operative Monitor.

Visit Co-operatives UK website for more information

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