Eleanor O'Higgins and Eamonn J. Harrigan
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.