Co-operative Governance and the Public Interest: Between Control and Autonomy

Norman Mohd Saleh, Noradiva Hamzah

Abstract


ABSTRACT

Co-operatives are jointly owned by their member-users, who also democratically control the enterprise. In turn, all members share the benefits of co-operatives. Thus far, not much is understood about the role of the regulator vis-à-vis the co-operative board in the governance of the claimed, social enterprise. The objectives of this study are to evaluate co-operative governance from the public interest perspective and provide narratives of the nature of governance practices for accountability of Malaysian co-operatives. This study adapts a public interest view borrowed from the political theory framework as proposed by Cochran (1974) for the evaluation of governance practices in relation to co-operatives’ accountability. Data was collected through in-depth interviews. The framework suggests co-operatives follow a consensualist view, responsible to the specific community or members they serve, which demands a certain degree of autonomy to operate effectively. The description of the nature of control over co-operatives and the public’s interest in co-operatives that this study provides, recommends control by regulators is, to a certain extent, needed in order for co-operatives to be effective in discharging their accountabilities as there are a lack of members’ activism and co-operative board competency inherent the industry in Malaysia.

Keywords: Co-operative governance; public interest; autonomy; accountability

ABSTRAK

Koperasi dimiliki oleh ahli-pengguna, yang juga mengawal secara demokratik enterpris berkenaan. Sebagai pulangannya, semua ahli berkongsi manfaat koperasi. Setakat ini, belum banyak yang difahami mengenai peranan pihak pengawal selia berbanding lembaga koperasi dalam governans yang dikatakan enterpris sosial ini. Objektif kajian ini adalah untuk menilai governans koperasi dari perspektif kepentingan awam dan memberikan naratif mengenai bentuk amalan governans bagi mencapai akauntabiliti koperasi-koperasi di Malaysia. Penelitian ini mengadaptasi pandangan kepentingan awam yang dipinjam daripada kerangka kerja teori politikal seperti yang telah dicadangkan oleh Cochran (1974) dalam penilaian amalan governans yang berkaitan akauntabiliti koperasi. Data telah dikutip melalui temubual mendalam. Kerangka kerja tersebut mencadangkan koperasi cenderung menurut pandangan konsensualis, bertanggungjawab dan berkhidmat kepada komuniti atau ahli-ahli tertentu, yang perlu kepada darjah autonomi tertentu utuk beroperasi dengan berkesan. Gambaran yang diberikan kajian ini mengenai bentuk kawalan ke atas koperasi dan kepentingan awam ke atas koperasi, mencadangkan kawalan oleh pihak pengawal selia, masih diperlukan untuk keberkesanan koperasi dalam menjalankan akauntabilitinya kerana kelemahan dalam keaktifan ahli dan kecekapan lembaga pengarah koperasi di Malaysia.

Kata kunci: Governans koperasi; kepentingan awam; autonomi; akauntabiliti


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