Case Studies of Organisational Resilience in the Co-operative Business Model
Edited by Tim Mazzarol, Sophie Reboud, Elena Mamouni Limnios and Delwyn Clark
Chapter 12: Recommendations for boards of directors of investor owned firms from the co-operative model
Co-operatives are defined by the International Co-operative Alliance as 'an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprise'. Under the name co-operative, very different organisations coexist: consumer co-operatives, worker co-operatives, producers' co-operatives, co-operative banks, etc. However, in spite of different contexts and businesses, co-operatives share the same principles. Their goal is triple: to defend their values; to ensure the sustainability of the organisation in a long term approach; and to ensure an equitable distribution of profits. Being a co-operative involves answering requirements such as implementing a democratic management and defining terms of membership, but also appointing a board of directors that will represent members and defend their interests in a simultaneously individual and collective perspective. Few studies exist on the specific components of the role of directors in co-operative organisations and none explores the best practices of cooperative boards that could provide lessons for other kinds of organisation. The board of directors is a key player in governance. The role of the board is to monitor management (Baysinger and Hoskisson 1990; Jensen and Zajac 2004) and to provide guidance for strategy and decision-making (Walsh and Seward 1990; Finkelstein and Hambrick 1996; Golden and Zajac 2001).
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