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New Report Examines Sobey School’s Impact on Co-operative Businesses

Date Published: November 22, 2018


The Sobey School of Business has released a new report that demonstrates the global reach and impact of the school’s co-operative management education and research activities; that is, activities that affect co-operative enterprises, credit unions and mutuals.  

The report offers qualitative and quantitative data, and models a new approach the School is pursuing in measuring impact. Download the report below:

Education for Values-Based Business: The Co-operative Difference

“Co-operative businesses are different: they are values-based and bring unique social value,” said Sonja Novkovic, the Academic Director of the International Centre for Co-operative Management (ICCM) at Sobey School. “We are proud of our research into co-operative business models and our influence within the academy, but ultimately, our impact is in people’s stories. It’s what students do with our education that matters.”

“The presence of ICCM in our business school is a differentiator for us,” said Harjeet Bhabra, dean of the Sobey School of Business. “It reflects our commitment to responsible, ethical management and it offers our students and researchers a perspective they might not otherwise see. For instance, the research conducted by CEARC, the Centre of Excellence in Accounting and Reporting for Co-operatives, on ways to measure sustainability outcomes offers insight for any business pursuing a triple bottom line.”

Highlights of the findings include powerful impact stories about students like Me’Lea Connelly of Minneapolis, who was named a 2018 Bush Fellow; Tracey Kliesch of Vancity, British Columbia; and Josh Noble of Unity Credit Union, Saskatchewan, who put together Well Capitalized, a podcast about co-operatives.

Other highlights include research and education statistics like: 

  • Over $3 million joint and individual research grants (awarded to full time ICCM Faculty)
  • $94,400 Grants awarded by CEARC
  • 31 Peer reviewed articles published by CEARC
  • 130+ Total faculty publications since 2013
  • 125+ organizations with practitioners taking part in ICCM credit and not-for-credit programming
  • 17+ nations represented by participants in programming
  • 50+ conference presentations since 2007

There  are  two  main  centres  through  which  the  Sobey  School  of  Business  provides  education programs,  research,  and  knowledge  dissemination  for  co-operatives:

  • The International Centre  for  Co-operative  Management  (ICCM) provides a  range  of  co-operative  management  education  (CME)  and  applied  research opportunities.
  • The Centre of  Excellence  in  Accounting  and  Reporting  for  Co-operatives (CEARC) is  a  focal  point  for  policy  development,  academic  and  applied  research, and  critical  reflection  on  industry  practices  in  accounting  for  co-operatives  and credit

The origins of the co-operative management education programs rest with CMEC, the Co-operative Management Education Co-operative, which was formed in 2001. More than 60 co-operatives and credit unions in 7 countries contribute to the running of ICCM through the CMEC. The flagship degree program offered by the centre, the Master of Management in Co-operatives and Credit Unions, saw its first cohort graduate in 2007. Since then, its education offerings have expanded to a Graduate Diploma program, certificates, executive education and study tours.

CEARC publishes the International Journal of Co-operative Accounting and Management, which you can find on their website, http://sobey.smu.ca/cearc. A recent initiative has seen the development of a comprehensive set of Co-operative Performance Indicators, and an offshoot project, Measuresmart, http://measuresmart.coop, invites co-operative businesses to dive into a performance measurement tools database. 

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