Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Could democratic governance have saved MEC from bankruptcy?

Sad news about Mountain Equipment Co-op: It has gone bankrupt, and has been sold to private for-profit investors:


If only MEC's board has been more responsive to members' critiques about its lack of democracy, maybe this disaster could have been prevented.

From my 2012 paper We Want Our Co-ops Back:

"Co-ops that grow large (e.g. over 10,000 members) often tend to become less democratic. Voter turnout falls, and boards become less accountable to members. Boards may create bylaws and rules that shift power from members to boards. Directors may become more allied with a co-op's senior staff than with the members."

"... if democratic reform includes a voter information system that gives voting members insight into which director candidates would better serve the co-op and thus its members, the result will be improved performance of the co-op."

No comments: