Fedore Cooperative: Effective Conflict Resolution and Decision Making
(6 pages of text)
Case (Gen Exp)
In December 2009, Fedore Cooperative (Fedore), a worker cooperative in a major city in Western Canada, was at a critical juncture. A general meeting comprising all members had been convened to resolve conflicts that had been brewing for some time and threatening the survival of the business. The members were inspired by the ideals of participation and equality, and had always made decisions based on consensus. Unfortunately, they had become deeply split over the poor financial performance of the business. There was a fundamental disagreement between two influential members about how to solve their problem. The situation had stalled their cooperative decision-making process, and Fedore’s future was at risk. The question was how to present the issues so that Fedore’s members could come to a consensus about how to work their way through the problem and find a solution.
This case is suitable for senior undergraduate and graduate courses on cooperative studies, general business studies, and courses related to the social economy, social enterprises, and business management. Instructors can focus on one or more of the following key learning objectives in this case:
- Understand the basics of the cooperative model of business organization, and how it differs from other business forms.
- Recognize, specifically, what a worker cooperative is and the importance of organizational fit with member values.
- Consider decision making in a collaborative environment, including how facilitation and mediation can help resolve group conflicts.
- Analyze business diversification and the challenges for organizations that are contemplating diversification.
Canada, Small, 2009
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