Why businesses should harness the ‘power of co-operation’ explored at University of Leicester

Posted by pt91 at Oct 19, 2017 02:01 PM |
Head of Co-operatives UK discusses social justice and ethical business for next School of Business Dean’s Lecture on 25 October

Issued by University of Leicester on 19 October 2017

A leading light of the co-operative movement is to speak at the University of Leicester about the value of working together in business

The University’s School of Business will host Ed Mayo, Secretary General of Co-operatives UK, for his lecture ‘The Power of Co-operation’ as part of its Dean’s Lecture Series. It takes place on Wednesday 25 October from 5.30pm in Lecture Theatre 2 of the Ken Edwards Building.

This public lecture is free to attend but places should be booked at: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/deans-lecture-series-the-power-of-co-operation-tickets-38228055142

Ed Mayo’s lecture is a story in part about co-operatives, those values based businesses that are structured around participatory ownership rather than the rights of investors, but it is also a story of every business and every participant in the economy.

Ed Mayo said: “We are often told that to get on is to get ahead, to compete. But what if it wasn't confrontation that powers success in business and in life, but co-operation - sometimes co-operating to compete?

“I will argue that what underpins productive co-operation are values - often strongly held and the deepest motivators for individual and group action that we have.

“The lecture will point to practical ways to bring values to life, and some of the recent success stories and disaster stories of business life when it comes to organising around values. If we can organise around values then we don't just change behaviours in business, we start to reclaim and reimagine the economy as centred around people rather than short term gain. This is the power and potential of co-operation.”

Ed Mayo is Secretary General of Co-operatives UK, the network for the UK’s thousands of co-operative businesses. He was one of the team who founded the Fairtrade Mark, which sources products from co-operatives and small-scale producers in developing countries. He rose to prominence as director of the New Economics Foundation from 1992 to 2003. He led the organisation from two to fifty staff, creating an award-winning ‘think-and-do tank’, looking at ethical market activity, local economies and public service reform. Ed is now a fellow of NEF.

From 2003 – 2009, he was Chief Executive of the National Consumer Council, merging this with two other bodies to found a new statutory consumer champion in 2008. He was described by the Independent as “the most authoritative voice in the country speaking up for consumers”, while the Guardian has nominated him as one of the top 100 most influential figures in British social policy. In 2014, Lucy Siegle, The Observer, commented that “Ed has played a leading role in almost every environmental and ethical business initiative over the last two decades.”

The Dean’s Lecture Series features invited speakers who are regarded as leaders in the areas of management, economics, finance and business.

Professor Zoe Radnor, Dean of the School of Business, said: “The School of Business is proud to be an original signatory to the UN PRME principles and our responsibilities from this commitment inform our research and teaching. In May 2017 we hosted a week of activities around the topic of responsible management in which justice and alternative organisational forms were a key theme, culminating in a Dean’s Lecture by the CEO of Co-operative and Social Enterprise Agency (CASE), Dorothy Francis.

“For our 2017/18 season of events, we are exploring the theme of co-operation further, with an examination of how the mission and values of the co-operative movement can offer insights for other organisations to consider. Ed Mayo is Secretary General of Co-operatives UK, the network for the UK’s thousands of co-operative businesses. He is a long-term co-operator and has a track record of innovation and impact in his work to bring together economic life and social justice.”

‘The Power of Co-operation’ by Ed Mayo will take place on Wednesday 25 October from 5.30pm in Lecture Theatre 2 of the Ken Edwards Building. This public lecture is free to attend but places should be booked at: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/deans-lecture-series-the-power-of-co-operation-tickets-38228055142

For further information on the School of Business Dean’s Lecture Series please visit www.le.ac.uk/ulsb/deans-lecture-series

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