– who controls and who primarily benefits from the enterprise
A member-controlled enterprise is an autonomous and self-governing enterprise that operates within the framework of the market, that is a voluntary association of persons run by and primarily for the benefit of its members.
It need to be understood that co-op & mutuals:
Collectively, the members of co-ops & mutuals are free to determine the purpose of their enterprise, as long as it in not illegal and is in accord with any legislation under which the enterprise is registered. Whatever the purpose as may be decided, then it is this purpose that should determine how the enterprise shall be conducted.
Most members will join a co-op or mutual because they wish to take advantage of the benefits that are on offer - to get ‘a better deal’. The main benefits will economic, but there are many exceptions; for example: members of workers/producers co-operatives often prefer the working environment provided by a co-operative, even if their overall financial benefits are no greater than they could achieve as an employee of a commercial business. In addition to any economic benefits, members may well also expect other benefits (outcomes) from their membership, these will include the expectation that their enterprise will behave with much greater integrity than a commercial businesses; quite simply because the main reason for its existence should be to act in the best interest of their members.
Co-operatives and mutuals - to be valued for what they deliver
last updated: February 2012 © Edgar Parnell 2012