Co-operative Governance

Democratic, people-centred, and transformational practice

May 18, 2023

Join us for this engaging course on co-operative governance, as democratic, people-centred, and transformational. Designed for seasoned decision-makers and emerging leaders from any sector or type of co-operative, all will benefit from this knowledge-rich course. This participatory education experience focuses on enhancing your knowledge and building your network.

Governance is core to all co-operatives, relevant to all members, and applied in a diversity of ways based on the co-operative type, size, and stage in life cycle. Whether you are new to co-operatives or an experienced professional, this session will stretch your thinking on governance as a system fit for values-based, member-owned, and democratically controlled organizations. You will leave the room with a renewed sense of the importance of governance structures and processes being consistent with the organization’s purpose while fulfilling goals, meeting objectives, and protecting member and community interests. This session highlights the critical importance of governance as a tool to set transformational purpose and vision for co-operatives to meet complex social, economic, and environmental agendas. Naturally, this includes all types of co-operatives across all sectors of the economy and society as we collectively seek to grow a strong co-operative economy.

Case study examples will be used to illustrate best governance practices, highlighting how strategic governance enables organizations to lead deeply on social justice, economic resilience, and the climate emergency, to name but a few challenges facing co-operatives today. To do all of this while being true to a people-centred enterprise model, governance systems must maintain member ownership and control while being democratic and responding to external and internal factors influencing members’ evolving needs and goals. Notably, individual co-operatives cannot do this alone; working together and across sectors is key to our collective future.


As an attendee, you will:

  • Understand the critical features of co-operative governance at the conceptual, systems, and applied levels.
  • Connect strategic governance to solving complex social, economic, and environmental problems.
  • Learn about specific examples of governance excellence in practice.

Course Leads

Karen Miner, Managing Director of the International Centre for Co-operative Management and Vice-Chair of Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada 

Erbin Crowell, Executive Director of the Neighboring Food Cooperative Association and Chair of NCBA CLUSA’s Board of Directors

Anne-Marie Merrien, Postdoctoral researcher and Lecturer (School of Management) with the Research and Education Institute for Cooperatives and Mutuals of the University of Sherbrooke, Quebec

Facilitated by Erin Hancock, Education Manager for the International Centre for Co-operative Management, President of the Community Housing Management Network Co-operative and Vice-Chair of iNova Credit Union

Upcoming Offerings

Recent Offerings

  • A pre-2023 Cooperative IMPACT Conference course (all seats filled) happened October 3, 2023, at the National Cooperative Bank, 2011 Crystal Drive (8th Floor), Arlington, Virginia, 22202, USA.
  • A workshop version of this course was offered on October 28, 2023, during the Directors' Forum themed "The Future of Co-operative Governance" in Mississauga, ON, Canada/ virtually.
“…the Centre’s work on co-operative governance has been sustained at a high level of quality over many years, culminating in a major international research conference, and a recent book on the theme of humanistic governance.  This has made an outstanding contribution to research on governance, and has made a distinctive positive contribution to thinking about cooperative governance, thereby facilitating improving policies and practices of boards and managers.” - Roger Spear, Emeritus Prof of Social Entrepreneurship (Open University) and Teacher on International Masters in Social Entrepreneurship (Roskilde University)