The meaning, importance and practice of the co-operative principles

Qualitative evidence from the Australian co-operative sector.

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Abstract

This paper explores the underlying reasons for expressed views about the importance and meaning of the co-operative principles from an Australian perspective. The results suggest that even though the 'core' principles of voluntary and open membership, democratic control and member economic participation are confirmed to have universal and fundamental support, some participants considered the principles associated with education, training and information or the concern for the community to be preeminent. Co-operation among co-operatives is given little emphasis due to a lack of critical mass within Australia. Participants provided some interesting interpretations of some principles, including: the meaning of 'open' membership, the appropriate focus of education and training, and the relevance of advertising to the concern for community. Even though some co-operatives do not follow all the principles, they act as important aspirational aims of 'human value' and serve as useful guideposts for achieving desired social objectives through economic activities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-63
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Co-operative Organization and Management
Volume1
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013

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Education
Participation
Economics
Economic activity
Human values
Critical mass

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