A Co-op and Its People
As mentioned earlier, a co-op is owned and controlled by
the people who use its services. With customer satisfaction
and meeting member needs as the principle characteristic,
the interaction of the managers with the employees, or that
of the board with the management is a critical issue to the
success of the cooperative.
Members: Members are the reason why a
cooperative is formed in the first place. Being the legal
owners of the cooperative, members carry a lot of influence
in the cooperative. Members must know what the cooperative
can do for them, the cooperative’s purpose, mission
and goals. Members also provide the equity that is required
for running a cooperative. Initially, this equity is formed
by the purchase of stock/membership fees and continues by
permitting the cooperative to retain a portion of the net
earnings allocated to each member at the end of the year.
In accordance with the cooperative principles, usually every
member has one vote and the member can use that vote
- To adopt and amend articles of incorporation and bylaws.
- To elect and if, necessary, remove directors.
- To decide whether to dissolve, merge or consolidate
- To make sure officers, directors and other agents comply
with laws applicable to the cooperative and with its articles
of incorporation, bylaws and membership contracts.
Other general responsibilities include:
- Patronize the cooperative.
- Be informed about the cooperative.
- Be conscientious about when selecting and evaluating
- Provide necessary capital.
(Source: Co-ops 101, An Introduction to Cooperatives
published by the United States Department of Agriculture)