The governance of large co-operative businesses

Type: Research  |  Topic: Governance  |  Format: Report

This is the second edition, comprehensively revised, of a research study which has been widely recognised as the first comprehensive research study into how co-operative businesses worldwide operate in terms of their governance. 

In contrast to the conventional shareholder-led approach to business the report, written by Professor Johnston Birchall of Stirling University and published by Co-operatives UK, examines how the world’s 60 largest co-ops ensure that their customers, employees and suppliers have meaningful influence over what the businesses do.

Professor Birchall’s report analyses the mechanisms used by large co-operatively run businesses as diverse as insurance firms, retailers and manufacturers to ensure that the decisions they make are driven by their members.

Through a mix of member engagement strategies, elections to the board of directors and powerful representative bodies that oversee management, these large co-operative businesses balance the expertise needed to run a global a business with inclusive stakeholder participation.

“As my analysis shows, co-ops are able combine the expertise needed to run a multi-billion pound business with mechanisms for their members - employees, customers and suppliers – control over strategic decisions and a share of the profits.” Professor Johnston Birchall