To co-operate is to act with others: to compromise, to combine, for some shared purpose. That emphasis on ‘we’ naturally requires personal compromise. The individual must in essence restrain very natural impulses, such as the singular pursuit of the lowest cost product to purchase for their business. In a co-operative, that individual chooses to consider the bigger picture. In a co-operative s/he chooses a solution where the sustainable supply of that product is weighed up and secured through working, as best s/he can, with others.
Co-operative societies, whether they provide services in a commercial or social context, face this challenge now more than ever before. As individuals we live in an age where the pressures of increased choice and diminished time are increasingly exerted upon us. Meanwhile, for organisations, the forces of economic rationalisation and government regulation intensify. What was sufficient yesterday may fall short tomorrow. How can an organisational model built upon collaboration, service and long-term thinking survive in this testing environment?
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24 Nov 2022