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Governance in Co-operatives is a Course

Governance in Co-operatives

Ended Mar 11, 2019

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Full course description

Course Date:

Jan 21 - Mar 11, 2019


7 weeks


3 hrs/week



Course Type:



Certificate (free), Badge


To be successful, co-ops must properly answer the basic governance question: who gets to decide what? This course examines how governance determines co-op success. We look at three key ideas: ensuring people work well together, creating a successful view of the future, and building legitimacy. Using real world cases, we discuss how these ideas translate into practical features like board structure and member engagement as we explore how to get the right people making the right decisions.

This course will allow participants to receive a badge (for completing weekly quizzes) or a certificate of completion (for completing the quizzes and weekly case study discussions).


By the end of this course students should be able to:

  • Define “governance” as it applies to running an organization.
  • Explain the differences in governance structure between co-operatives and investor-owned businesses.
  • Identify the causes of failure in “working together” (strategic interdependencies) in co-operative organizations.
  • Identify the causes of failure in creating “a view of the future” (cognition) in co-operative organizations.
  • Identify the causes of failure in building legitimacy in co-operative organizations.
  • Apply the model of co-operative governance to real world case studies of co-operative organizations.

Prerequisite: The only prerequisite is an interest in the governance of co-operatives and non-profits. While the course will cover a wide range of theories in governance, economics, and psychology, all of these topics will be explained in simple, accessible language.

Target Audience: Anyone who is interested in governance, co-operatives and social economy organizations, or is on a board of directors.

Course is offered jointly by the Centre for the Study of Co-operatives at the University of Saskatchewan, and Co-operatives First.

Course Instructors

Paul Thompson

Paul Thompson


Paul Thompson is a Knowledge Mobilization Officer at the Centre for the Study of Co-operatives at the University of Saskatchewan. Paul has a background in education, having worked with students at both the secondary and post-secondary levels. He holds a B.A. in philosophy, a B.Ed., and an M.P.A.