- Geof Cox's Blog
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- Greece, France - making enterprise more social...
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- Social impact is no longer an option for big brands
- What on earth is Social Enterprise UK doing?
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- The Guardian & Social Enterprise
- The focus on a few kinds of social enterprise is blinding us to a bigger picture
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- A conflict common to many co-operatives...
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- Public Service Transformation
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- Джеф Кокс, информация на русском языке
A conflict common to many co-operatives...
I've been asked to help resolve a familiar situation in a co-operative:
A founding group has put much time and effort into building a successful business, which now has the opportunity to expand rapidly - which will require admitting new members.
Some of the founders are happy to do this, but others do not want to dilute their own control and investment (mainly time - but obviously it does have a financial value).
Luckily it is a share structure and it is possible to reward the 'sweat equity' - but it is also a one-member-one-vote structure so although there will be a probationary period ultimately control will be shared.
Obviously I'm aware of both the technical mechanisms that can mitigate problems like this - that's why it's a share structure! - and also the arguments for bringing in others to allow and boost growth (it's better to have a smaller share of something really valuable than the lion's share of very little).
However, for those who are happy to share ownership and control, the disagreement has raised questions about the others' commitment to co-operative principles - perhaps they were never heart felt principles at all - just a convenience to cohere a good team?
Given that this is such a familiar difficulty - which I know has broken co-ops in the past - I wonder if anyone knows of case studies, or just has their own story, of how co-operators involved in such conflicts have dealt with them - more especially how they have dealt with the feelings involved?