Oxford, UK and Boston, USA
Blackwell Publishers Ltd.
Annals of public and cooperative economics
71 (2000), S. 0
Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
The article begins with some observations about the trend towards demutualization of mutual and co-operative businesses, and then presents a case study of one, rather dramatic, example: the attempted takeover of Europe’s largest consumer co-operative, CWS. It draws on original research into the takeover bid to provide a summary of what happened and when, and then asks some important questions about whether consumer co-operatives are inherently less efficient than PLCs in the retail sector; whether they can make themselves safe from takeover; if they do survive, how they can justify their existence as member-owned businesses; and whether there are alternative forms such as worker or multi-stakeholder ownership that can achieve the broad aims of the co-operative sector more effectively. It concludes that if CWS and similar organizations are to survive they must integrate the two aspects of a co-operative—the business and the association—and take seriously the opportunities and responsibilities that being a member-owned organization implies.
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