Table of Contents

Ethical Innovation in Business and the Economy

Ethical Innovation in Business and the Economy

Studies in TransAtlantic Business Ethics series

Edited by Georges Enderle and Patrick E. Murphy

Innovation has become a buzzword that promises dramatic changes in almost every field of business. Absent from this attention is a serious discussion of the ethical sides of dramatic change. To address this, editors Georges Enderle and Patrick E. Murphy gather a team of experts to fully examine the ethics of innovation within business and the economy in this standout addition to the Studies in TransAtlantic Business Ethics series.

Chapter 8: Is the co-operative model a realistic alternative to traditional joint stock companies?

Eleanor O’Higgins

Subjects: business and management, business ethics and trust, business leadership


Chapter 8 by Eleanor O’Higgins addresses the question of whether co-operatives present a real alternative business model to traditional capitalist enterprises. After characterizing co-operatives with their benefits and challenges, it compares two case examples from the United Kingdom, the John Lewis Partnership (JLP) and the Co-operative Group. The comparative analysis points to four crucial elements of good governance in co-operatives: member voice, representation, expertise and management. Both successes and failures in these four elements are intertwined. In the case of JLP, this resulted in a virtuous cycle. By contrast, the Co-op Group failed by adopting neither the model of the cooperative nor of the publicly listed corporations. The chapter concludes by stating that a diverse array of co-operatives and other organizational forms will continue to exist side by side as ways to add value to economic activity.

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