About Paul Thompson

Paul Thompson, Knowledge Mobilization Officer, Centre for the Study of Co-operatives

Connecting Co-operators

Our free, online course, “Governance in Co-operatives,” has brought together nearly 1,500 co-operators from around the world to discuss governance in co-ops and social enterprises

We’ve discussed before in this space the potential for technology to spark innovation in the way we co-operate. This previous blog post discussed some of the new ways co-ops are being created using digital platforms. However, the proliferation of the World Wide Web, mobile phones, and social media in our daily lives haven’t just created new opportunities for co-operative enterprises, they have also created new avenues for educating people around the globe about the co-op difference.

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Top Co-op Issues 2019

Top Co-op Issues

A word cloud of the responses to our 2019 Top Co-op Issues survey

Each year, the Centre for the Study of Co-operatives surveys co-operative leaders from across Canada on the top issues their organizations face. In this post, we discuss the top six responses from our 2019 survey.

For more information on the Top Co-op Issues 2019, and surveys from previous years, visit our website.

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Are Co-ops Naturally Ethical or Moral? No, They’re Not.

What makes an organization ethical?

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re a supporter of the co-operative movement. It’s also likely that you would agree with a broad statement like “co-operatives are an ethical way of doing business” or “co-operatives are more like to act ethically than investor-owned firms.”

But how do we know that’s true? Is there something inherent to the co-op model that makes co-operative enterprises more morally sound than their competitors? If you believe the argument put forward by Dr. Morris Altman from the Newcastle Business School in NSW, Australia, the answer to these questions is a firm “no.”

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There is much to do, isn’t there?

Marc-André Pigeon, Director, Centre for the Study of Co-operatives

There is much to do, isn’t there?

We live in a world challenged by geopolitical tensions, threatened by climate change, and riven by inequalities. If there ever was a time for the co-operative sector to assume a greater place in our lives and help all of us address these challenges, it is now. There are some signs that this is happening.

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What Makes Governance in Co-operatives Different?

boardroom governance

All firms are co-operatives? That can’t be right…

When I first started studying co-operatives as a graduate student, the first article I read was a piece provocatively titled “All firms are cooperatives – and so are governments.” Its author, Yale law professor Henry Hansmann, claimed exactly what you would expect from the title: that investor-owned businesses were no different in their structure than co-operatives. Continue reading

Governance: “Well that’s all of life, right?”

“Chemistry is the study of matter. But I prefer to think of it as the study of change. Now just think about this: electrons, they change their energy levels; molecules change their bonds; elements, they combine and change into compounds. Well that… that’s all of life, right?”

-Walter White, Season 1 Episode 1 of Breaking Bad

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An Internet of Ownership: Part 1 – The New Revolution

Paul Thompson

In November, the Centre hosted its annual MacPherson Talk. The 2018 lecture featured Nathan Schneider from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Professor Schneider’s work as a journalist, academic, and author has focused on platform co-operatives and their role in ownership and governance in the digital economy. This series of blog posts is inspired by his talk, entitled “An Internet of Ownership: Democratic Design for the Online Economy.”

 

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