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The self-help enterprise model


Models of enterprise

An enterprise model provides an outline of a form of enterprise, along with other essential systems and practices required to sustain them.  The model ought to set out the key practices that support the implementation of the foundations of the enterprise, as well as identifying the most important systems required to implement the model.  An enterprise model should explain the overall system and supply guidance to decision-makers throughout the enterprise.  It is essential to differentiate between a ‘business model’ and a ‘model of enterprise’.  A business model may be defined as ‘the plan implemented by a business to generate revenue and make a profit from its operations’; On the other hand, a model of enterprise outlines a specific form of enterprise, laying down its foundation practices along with the full raft of other practices critical to the overall system.

What kind of model is needed?

The kind of enterprise needed to deliver the purpose of a co-op is one that:
    • Is purpose-driven
    • Is function-focused
    • Has a 'fit-for-purpose' system of organization
    • Operates a viable market intervention strategy
    • Deploys dynamic and complete systems
    • Undertakes a continuous process of organizational renewal
The 'self-help enterprise model' incorporates all the above features

The self-help enterprise model

Leaders of co-ops need to have a handle on the true character of their organizations and what it takes to make them work effectively.  People need frameworks to help them better understand their organizations, an enterprise model offers such a framework.  The model explains the underlying logic for both the design and operation of co-ops.  It is designed to ensure that they achieve their purpose and continuously serve their members.
A purpose ahead
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Diagram of co-op model
The co-op enterprise model

The essentials

Unless the people running the co-op properly understand the self-help model of enterprise, it is highly unlikely that their enterprise will achieve its purpose and remain member controlled.  At a minimum, the leaders of co-ops and their senior managers need to have a thorough appreciation of the model. This model helps them to release the latent power of their membership, to get their people to work together cooperatively and to reap the benefits of following the self-help economic system. It offers enterprises a set of practices that will generate the necessary pressure to perform, it also supplies a stimulus to both innovate and renew.  

To find out more about: The Co-op/Self-help Enterprise Model
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Updated: April 2021 © Edgar Parnell 2021
Cooperatives and all other types of self-help enterprise
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