This introductory course provides students with a theoretical and practical framework for understanding the origins, principles and values, and the strengths and weaknesses of the co-operative business model. It seeks to explain how this business model is positioned in relation to the market, social and sharing economies. It explores different types of co-operatives based on different models of ownership and considers how and why these types have emerged and continue to evolve to provide solutions to a range of social, economic and environmental problems in Australia and internationally. The course will examine contemporary challenges with co-operative law, capital-raising, governance and management and seeks to identify barriers to co-operative growth and development. This is an introductory course, and a more detailed study of many of these areas will be offered in the courses: LEGL6005 Legal Frameworks and Governance and GSBS6412 Social Enterprises and Co-operative Innovation.
- Trimester 1 - 2020
On successful completion of the course students will be able to:
1. Describe the co-operative principles and values and their role in delineating a unique business model.
2. Explain the key differences between the co-operative, mutual, investor-owned company and a (not for profit) social enterprise.
3. Analyse the reasons for the emergence of co-operatives as an alternative business model following the industrial revolution and their revival and relevance in the modern economy.
4. Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of different types of co-operatives and their potential to provide solutions to contemporary economic, social and environmental problems.
5. Analyse the impact of key challenges in co-operative law, governance and management on co-operative growth and development.
6. Explore through collaborative group work the opportunities for co-operative innovation and renewal in the sharing economy.
The topics in this course include the following:
1. Introduction – what makes the co-operatives and mutuals different from other business models
2. Understanding co-operative identity, values and principles.
3. Typology of co-operatives
4. The history, resilience and re-emergence of the co-operative model internationally
5. Understanding past and current features impacting the Australian co-operative sector
6. Theories explaining the resilience and advantages of the co-operative model
7. New trends: co-operatives in public and community service delivery
8. Co-operative innovation, technological, organisational and contributions to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
9. Co-operative law and legal frameworks
10. Co-operative management and member’s economic participation
11. Co-operative governance and democratic decision-making
12. Co-operative finance and capital raising
Written Assignment: Report on co-operative identity
Written Assignment: Newspaper article on co-operative advantage and resilience
Online Learning Activity: Group meetings and Individual Reflections
Online 4 hour(s) per Week for Full Term
Students will be required to complete 4 hours of guided learning via online preparation, discussion groups or self-directed learning and an additional 6 hours of independent study per week.