Webinar: The ICA Principles in Large Co-ops: "Just for show" or integral to success?
Measuring the Co-operative Difference Research Network
Through adherence to the seven ICA principles (http://s.coop/1fdzc), small community-based co-operatives can enhance their members' experiences of empowerment in running their business. For example, according to Principle 2 - Democratic Member Control, each member should be active in setting the co-op's policies, and making important decisions. When a co-op becomes very large however, are these principles difficult to follow? For instance, what happens when a co-operative becomes so large that the vast majority of members don't exercise their voting rights? Is the principle of Democratic Member Control still relevant? In this webinar, Ghislain Paradis of IRECUS (s.coop/1fdz9), and formerly of Desjardins, argues that some ICA principles are based on idealism rather than realism; he suggests that large co-operatives cannot effectively adopt these principles in a way that would allow them to meet their needs in the global marketplace. The MCDRN's own Sonja Novkovic, of the Sobey of School Business at Saint Mary's University responds, argues that the ICA Principles remain just as valuable and relevant as co-ops grow. Dr. Novkovic's research involves working with worker co-ops to improve their ability to operationalize the ICA principles and values. The idea of subsidiarity is discussed. Two respondents give their own input on the debate: 1. Carol Hunter from The Co-operators. 2. John Restakis of BCCA on his research on large consumer co-ops in BC.