Not currently offered
Course code



20 units


6000 level

Course handbook


This course consists of a series of lecture modules, readings and learning activities that introduce and develop consulting, strategic management, and economic concepts and practices and how these might best be applied to co-operative organisations. The course also explores how the five key pillars on which the International Co-operative Alliance suggests a modern dynamic sustainable co-operative movement will be built, can be incorporated as operating principles in a co-operative. After the first three modules, students will commence a business development project for an allocated co-operative, mutual or registered association. The respective organisation will either be one in which the student works, or one allocated by the Course Coordinator. In addition to undertaking the weekly learning modules, students will spend a minimum of 160 hours over the trimester engaged in developing and completing their project. Throughout the trimester, students will benefit from ongoing discussions with their contact member of the host organisation, feedback from the Course Coordinator and by engaging in peer-to-peer learning with other students in the course. There will also be an opportunity for face-to-face engagement, networking, and learning.


Not currently offered.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Identify the sustainability challenges facing co-operatives

2. Describe the strategic operational changes co-operatives need to make

3. Explain the theoretical co-operative model of sustained competitive advantage

4. Evaluate the performance of a co-operative against the ICA Five Pillars

5. Describe and evaluate the ability and process of the co-operative to move from niche player to market dominator


Introduction - Weeks 1-3 covers the following lectures:

1. Explanation of Capstone Module.

2. A theoretical co-operative model of sustained competitive advantage.

3. Research Project - case study theory and methodology. Choose the co-operative for the research project.

Fieldwork - Weeks 4-9 in which five lectures relating to the five pillars are delivered on line. The written assignment requires writing a report on the case study co-operative based on the five following lectures:

4. Elevating participation to a new level - combining consumer and worker models.

5. Developing appropriate accounting methods and metrics of economic, social and environmental sustainability.

6.Refining the Member Value Proposition and Co-operative Identity.

7.Financial issues and capital raising for co-operatives.

8.Legal Structure and governance models.

In addition three key strategic issues are addressed:

9. Marketing - from niche to mainstream player.

10. Stewardship Management - managing conflict and the tensions between the stakeholders.

11. Mapping the life cycle model of the co-operative - avoiding degeneration processes.

Weekend Intensive - Week 12.

Presentation of Final Report to peers, academic staff and co-operative experts.

Assumed knowledge

GSBS6411, GSBS6412, GSBS6413, GSBS6414

Assessment items

Presentation: Presentation

In Term Test: Mid trimester essay

Report: Final report