Introduction to Co-operative Organisation and Management: the Co-operative Advantage

Newcastle University

Type: Course
Knowledge level: Introductory

This is a course run through the University of Newcastle.

Course Description

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.


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
Australia - Newcastle University
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