Ethical Innovation in Business and the Economy
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Ethical Innovation in Business and the Economy

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

Eleanor O’Higgins


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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