As I look within myself, as to why I care so much about the Cooperative Business Model, I realize it is the reality that cooperative business’ can actually function successfully while strongly embracing Coop VALUES.
Although it seems that cooperatives today are not as focused on values as much as they once were, I believe that continuing to emphasize VALUES among cooperatives is a worthwhile endeavor.
Shalom H. Schwartz, an Israeli social psychologist who has conducted extensive quantitative research in determining universal human values around the world, developed “The Theory of Basic Human Values” based on the results of surveys conducted with over 60,000 people. Professor Schwartz summarized that there are 10 distinct, universal values. In his extensive research into cooperative’s, Dr. Daniel Cote used Schwartz’ “Theory of Basic Human Values Assessment” to validate that employees and managers who excel within the cooperative business model score high on the Schwartz Values Chart regarding “Helpfulness/Benevolence”, while employees and managers within a competitive business model score high with values based upon “Achievement/Power”.
Values often serve as the basis for what motivates individuals. Personal values also seem to motivate business managers and contributes to what their priorities are as they manage the business. Some individuals and businesses seem most motivated by success and status, others are motivated by change or new ideas, and the cooperative business model seems to attract people motivated by a desire to help and serve the needs of others.
In the preface of the book, “Wired Differently”, Professor John Doggett of the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin wrote:
“As you read this book, I ask you to open your heart and mind to a fundamentally different way of thinking about business. If you do, you will realize the power of what can happen when people who love life and their communities come together to create a servant-leader enterprise. It will show you the power of putting organizational values into action, and perhaps it will even wake up corporate America to the cooperative model and a whole new way of doing business.”
CoopValues exists to provide individuals who are passionate about the cooperative business model a ‘state of the art’ learning management platform, which enables them to provide courses which inspire a new generation of cooperative employees to fully live out the cooperative difference. The cooperative difference is most fully realized when the needs of people are placed as a priority for the business, rather than the gaining of financial profit.
Imprinting coop VALUES, on the next generation of cooperative employees, directors and management, is what drives the daily work of CoopValues.