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Co-operative 
Lifestyle 
Invitation to come back to Rochdale 
! 
Ryszard Stocki 
Saint Mary’s University, Halifax 
MIK, Un...
New (ICA) version of Rochdale Values and Principles 
• Values: self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, 
equality, equit...
Are Rochdale times gone? 
! 
Our main question is… 
…why co-operatives have more and 
more difficulties to live up to thei...
There are many ways to answer the question. 
Motivation 
Investment Participation 
Values 
Generation 
Life experience 
In...
Expertise Values 
seem good to start with, but they are very difficult 
to operationalize and measure. Much easier to 
mea...
Lifestyle has been the subject of many 
disciplines but four most distinctive are: 
1. Marketing research investigates and...
If you try to put all this 
research together…
…the picture becomes very complicated. So let us extract some key elements. 
! 
Co-op’s Decision 
Making Practice 
! 
Gove...
Income 
Free time 
Character (virtues) = directing will to values 
Expertise 
Reactive 
Experiential 
lifestyle 
Adaptive ...
We can do it if we increase our expertise and redesign our workplaces to 
show how proactive lifestyle can counter the rea...
Contemporary empirical 
research on lifestyles 
does not seem 
satisfactory enough. We 
need to implement two 
rules.
Practical 
Propositional 
= theory 
Presentational 
Experiential 
Forms 
of knowledge 
Nicolaus Copernicus lived from 
147...
Practical 
Propositional 
Presentational 
Experiential 
Forms 
of knowledge 
John Heron (1928 - now) claims “We get 
deepe...
I would like to do 
research not “on” co-operatives, 
but “with” co-operatives 
so we could 
test the following model:
We will focus on four groups of variables in the large grey square. 
! 
! 
! 
! 
! 
! 
! 
! 
! 
Vocational 
(Co-operative ...
This research shall result in 
the development of a new tool 
for co-operative diagnosis. 
Organizational practices 
CoopI...
What are participating co-ops’s 
gains risks 
• Thorough diagnosis of a co-op 
including individuals’ position on 
the lif...
What’s next? Deadlines 
• December: Individual interviews 
• January: Development of a draft of all diagnostic methods. 
•...
If you are interested in this research 
and its results write to 
ryszard@stocki.org 
Thank you! 
! 
! 
! 
! 
Research in ...
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Co-operative lifestyle - Invitation to come back to Rochdale

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Co-operatives are organizations that, by definition, adhere to a certain set of values and principles. The values were first formulated in Rochdale, where the first co-operative was founded. These values and principles, as any values and principles, should permeate the lifestyles of all those who identify with them. Individuals' exposure to these values and principles will vary between worker co-ops and other types of co-ops. While members of a co-operative bank or consumer coop may only visit once a week, in a worker co-op, people are exposed to the co-operative values for 8 hours a day. Geof Cox noted on LinkedIn that as such, worker co-ops may be considered a "lifestyle business".

Unlike values, lifestyle can easily be measured. Marketing specialists in the USA or Canada may quite reliably identify your lifestyle if you give them your postal code; doctors can conjecture it from seeing you for just a few seconds. Sociologists may deduce how you live from your taste - i.e. aesthetic choices. We simultaneously expose our lifestyle and are exposed, continuously, to the lifestyle of others. Some lifestyles spread like viruses creating a pandemic of consumerism. However, these product-based lifestyles are in complete opposition to the person-oriented lifestyle of: “self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity, solidarity, honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others.” Indeed, to follow the co-operative lifestyle seems more difficult now than it was in Rochdale times.

One of the first and more important reasons is related to our mobility and flexibility. In 1980, futurist Alvin Toffler predicted that as our society's work patterns become increasingly individualized, it would lead to greater social isolation due to a reduction in common "off-work" time (e.g. Sunday church services, evenings at the pub, community gatherings).
Toffler observes that we structure relationships differently now; rather than spending a lifetime getting to know our neighbours in a small village, we might meet and make new friends every week; and yet, we also drift apart more quickly - as we move on to a new sports team, a new job, a new city of residence. This shortening of the duration of our relationships has impacted many aspects of our everyday life - including our relationship to co-operatives. Now, people follow work, and not the other way round. The Rochdale pioneers did not dream about the challenges a community-based business has to face today.

In slide 7 I show the complexity of a modern lifestyle. I would like to investigate to what degree an individual's lifestyle impacts the functioning of a worker co-op. I am conducting a participatory research project of co-operative lifestyles today. I would like to invite co-operatives and their members not just to fill in questionnaires, but work together on developing them, in a true participatory approach.

Published in: Leadership & Management

Co-operative lifestyle - Invitation to come back to Rochdale

  1. 1. Co-operative Lifestyle Invitation to come back to Rochdale ! Ryszard Stocki Saint Mary’s University, Halifax MIK, University of Mondragon University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Katowice ! Presented at Canadian Worker Co-op Federation CoopZone Conference Wolfville, Nov. 6-8, 2014 Rochdale cc RHL Images, from flickr.com
  2. 2. New (ICA) version of Rochdale Values and Principles • Values: self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity, solidarity, honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others. • Principles: 1. Voluntary and open membership 2. Democratic member control 3. Member economic participation 4. Autonomy and independence 5. Education, training and information 6. Co-operation among co-operatives 7. Concern for community
  3. 3. Are Rochdale times gone? ! Our main question is… …why co-operatives have more and more difficulties to live up to their values and principles and, stay competitive and attractive workplaces at the same time.
  4. 4. There are many ways to answer the question. Motivation Investment Participation Values Generation Life experience Income Social Roles Career path Family issues Market change Education Habits Management skills Ownership Expertise Policy Interests 4
  5. 5. Expertise Values seem good to start with, but they are very difficult to operationalize and measure. Much easier to measure seems to be… Lifestyle What is more, it is closely related to what co-operatives do.
  6. 6. Lifestyle has been the subject of many disciplines but four most distinctive are: 1. Marketing research investigates and utilizes the concept to make us consume and spend more and more. 2. Lifestyle medicine shows cruel evidence of what is happening to us due to thoughtless consumption. 3. Lifestyle exposure to victimization shows how our lifestyles make us victims of crimes. 4. Sociology and ethnography try to make sense of social changes related to lifestyles and propose a research agenda. 6
  7. 7. If you try to put all this research together…
  8. 8. …the picture becomes very complicated. So let us extract some key elements. ! Co-op’s Decision Making Practice ! Governance Adherence to Co-op Values & Principles ! Economic Effectiveness ! Social Effectiveness H1 H2 H3 H4 H5 H6 H7 R Trade-off expected in short time perspective Values CV&P Coping / expertise Exposure to consumer lifestyle - in Media, Leisure, Work, Education Vocational (Co-operative lifestyle) Personal Demographics Psychological Constraints Adaptive - Assimilative lifestyle Adaptive - Accommodative lifestyle Social change lifestyle Transformative lifestyle Affect Institutional & legal structural constraints Economic Constraints Experiential lifestyle Social and cultural constraints Educational constraints Familial/ community constraints Lifestyle Situational contraints Geographic contraints Informational contraints (Media) Reactive Proactive Educational/ traininig and development Decision making Nutritional Decision Making Leisure Time Decision Making Family Decision Making Health Well-being/ Happiness Transcendence - Becoming a better person Investment and Purchasing Decision Making ! Individual social and personal impact ! Love (Macro)Economic (political) Expertise R ! Business (strategic) Expertise R Lifestyle expertise in personal transcendence R Lifestyle expertise in interpersonal relations Lifestyle expertise in nutrition Lifestyle expertise in physical activity Lifestyle expertise in family relations Leisure - home lifestyle etc.
  9. 9. Income Free time Character (virtues) = directing will to values Expertise Reactive Experiential lifestyle Adaptive - Assimilative lifestyle Adaptive - Accommodative lifestyle Social change lifestyle Transformative lifestyle Proactive Although there are many factors that influence our lifestyle that are independent of us. Many others depend on us. Lifestyle medicine and criminology give ample examples that we can change our lifestyles. We only have to remember that we do not have to be reactive but freely shape our lives.
  10. 10. We can do it if we increase our expertise and redesign our workplaces to show how proactive lifestyle can counter the reactive, consumer lifestyle of mass culture. Experiential lifestyle Adaptive - Assimilative lifestyle Adaptive - Accommodative lifestyle Social change lifestyle Transformative lifestyle Reactive Proactive Cultural exposure to reactive lifestyle Vocational exposure to proactive lifestyle (Macro)Economic (political) Expertise R ! Business (strategic) Expertise R Expertise R Lifestyle expertise in personal transcendence Lifestyle expertise in interpersonal relations Lifestyle expertise in nutrition Lifestyle expertise in physical activity Lifestyle expertise in family relations
  11. 11. Contemporary empirical research on lifestyles does not seem satisfactory enough. We need to implement two rules.
  12. 12. Practical Propositional = theory Presentational Experiential Forms of knowledge Nicolaus Copernicus lived from 1473 to 1543 but parallaxes, an empirical proof of his theory was first observed as late as 1838. Rule 1. We need a general lifestyle theory. From the times of Copernicus, we know that sometimes we have to deduce a theory that cannot be empirically proven.
  13. 13. Practical Propositional Presentational Experiential Forms of knowledge John Heron (1928 - now) claims “We get deeper information about the nature of our realities when our prime concern is to develop practical skills which change these realities.” Co-operative Inquiry, p. 114 Rule 2. A sound lifestyle theory has to be practically relevant for co-operatives. The only way to develop such a theory is co-operation with co-operatives.
  14. 14. I would like to do research not “on” co-operatives, but “with” co-operatives so we could test the following model:
  15. 15. We will focus on four groups of variables in the large grey square. ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! Vocational (Co-operative lifestyle) ! External and internal constraints Reactive Experiential lifestyle Adaptive - Assimilative lifestyle Adaptive - Accommodative lifestyle Social change lifestyle Transformative lifestyle Proactive (Macro)Economic (political) Expertise R ! Business (strategic) Expertise R Lifestyle expertise in personal transcendence R Lifestyle expertise in interpersonal relations ! Co-op’s Decision Making Practice ! Governance Adherence to Co-op Values & Principles ! Economic Effectiveness ! Social Effectiveness H1 H2 H3 H4 H5 H6 H7 R Trade-off expected in short time perspective Cultural exposure 1. Expertise 2. Lifestyle 3. Co-operative practice 4. Results
  16. 16. This research shall result in the development of a new tool for co-operative diagnosis. Organizational practices CoopIndex 2.0 Organizational report Personalized confidential reports for willing members and employees Individual lifestyle and exper tise The tool will assist not only co-operatives but also individual members in their personal development.
  17. 17. What are participating co-ops’s gains risks • Thorough diagnosis of a co-op including individuals’ position on the lifestyle line and their expertise. • Individual and organizational development. • Improving teamwork. • Time and a facilitator to reflect on co-operative values and principles and possible directions in the contemporary world. • Making the co-op a more attractive workplace. • Risk of wasting time if no action is performed on the basis of the results. • Possible resignations of persons who find themselves unfit for co-operative values. • Emotional stress related to going out of comfort zone. • Cost related to organizing workshops and meetings. • Necessity to cover future costs to continue the project. 17
  18. 18. What’s next? Deadlines • December: Individual interviews • January: Development of a draft of all diagnostic methods. • February: Two-hour online webinar about the methods and consulting/research. • February: Draft versions of all the tools and documents ready for inspection. • March: Declarations to participate in the Isomorphism project and selection of participants • April 2015 - March 2016: The consulting/research project.
  19. 19. If you are interested in this research and its results write to ryszard@stocki.org Thank you! ! ! ! ! Research in several co-ops in Canada and the Basque Country is sponsored by the European Union

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