Co-operative is an organization owned by and operated for the benefit of those using its services. Co-operatives have been successful in such fields as the processing and marketing of farm products and the purchasing of other kinds of equipment and raw materials, and in the wholesaling, retailing, electric power, credit and banking, and housing industries. The modern consumer co-operative traces its roots to Britain’s Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers (1844); the movement spread quickly in northern Europe. In the U.S., agricultural marketing co-operatives developed in rural areas in the 19th century; other contemporary examples include consumer and housing co-operatives
Co-operative management, also co-management, tries to achieve more effective and equitable systems of resource management. In co-operative management, representatives of user groups, the scientific community, and government agencies should share knowledge, power, and responsibility. Co-operative management is closely allied with collaborative management, participatory management, community management, joint management, and stakeholder management.
Co-operative management training gives students’ inducements to learn what is satisfying to them and useful in future work. The literature of the field is to survey and identify critical needs in co-operative and mid-management skills and develop an inquiry form career. The skills are needed to helping executive personnel in merchandising who supervise mid-managers and mid-managers who occupy such merchandising positions.
Co-operatives in Kenya are not a new phenomenon; its experience can be traced back from the time before colonial domination to recent where we experience business in co-operatives especially of financial institutions and agribusiness in nature.
1.2 Principles of Co-operatives Management and Social Development
i) Voluntary and Open Membership
Co-operatives are voluntary organizations, open to all persons able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without gender, social, racial, political or religious discrimination.
ii) Democratic Member Control
Co-operatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting their policies and making decisions. Men and women serving as elected representatives are accountable to the membership. In primary co-operatives, members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote) and co-operatives at other levels are organized in a democratic manner.
iii) Member Economic Participation
Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their co-operative. At least part of that capital is usually the common property of the co-operative. They usually receive limited compensation, if any, on capital subscribed as a condition of membership. Members allocate surpluses for any or all of the following purposes: developing the co-operative, possibly by setting up reserves, part of which at least would be indivisible; benefiting members in proportion to their transactions with the co-operative; and supporting other activities approved by the membership.
iv) Autonomy and Independence
Co-operatives are autonomous, self-help organizations controlled by their members. If they enter into agreements with other organizations, including governments, or raise capital from external sources, they do so on terms that ensure democratic control by their members and maintain their co-operative autonomy.
v) Education, Training and Information
Co-operatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their co-operatives. They inform the general public — particularly young people and opinion leaders — about the nature and benefits of cooperation.
vi) Cooperation among Co-operatives
Co-operatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the co-operative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.
vii) Concern for Community
While focusing on member needs, co-operatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies accepted by their members.