About the conference

The theme: Cooperatives in the Changing World of Work

The multi-stakeholder group of organizers is pleased to announce the International Conference on ‘Co-operatives in the Changing World of Work’ from April 29 – May 1, 2018, at the Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode (India). Participation is invited from academia, co-operatives, development organizations & CSO movements, government & inter-governmental agencies, private sector, and groups representing youth, women and the marginalized & vulnerable sections of our societies.

Uralungal Labour Contract Co-operative Society Ltd in association with International Co-operative Alliance Asia and Pacific, International Labour Organization, Indian Institute of Management Kozhikode, and others, is organizing an International Conference at IIMK. The conference is co-funded by the ICA-EU Partnership on Co-operatives in Development: People Centered Businesses in Action, and supported by the ICA Domus Trust.

As part of the International Conference, the organizers are inviting all Academicians, Professionals, Students and Research Scholars to participate by submitting thematic research papers.

Objective: The conference comes as an opportunity for interested parties to discuss and deliberate, on a multi-stakeholder platform, the need to develop-promote-advocate concepts towards

  • Enabling legal & regulatory environment
  • Activating social financing for social & solidarity economy space
  • Sharing knowledge and Data for replication of good practices
  • Scaling up partnerships and working relationships on an international level, especially in the context of the Agenda 2030 on Sustainable Development and the SDGs

Conference Structure

In addition to the paper presentations, the conference will feature thematic sessions with lectures and panel discussions on the various themes, to be delivered by international practice-research-policy experts. The conference will also feature a co-operative hackathon (or a Coopathon) to allow vibrant minds to suggest ideas (based on the co-op model) to tackle 21st century socio-economic challenges. The Conference is intended to provide a platform where ideas from research and practice can complement each other to provide a better eco-system for co-operatives and like organizations.

Cooperatives in the Changing World of Work

Co-operatives are one of the earliest forms of organizing work. Unlike the more popular business models, co-operative organizations & enterprises have a focus on the welfare of its members, a concern for the community, and at the same time, strives to provide good quality products/services at reasonable cost to the customer and users. Co-operatives exist in all sectors of the economy around the world and while they are commercial organizations they operate within a broader set of values and principles not focusing per se on generating economic returns alone, but on meeting the needs and aspirations of their members. While co-operatives resemble many business organizations with respect to infrastructural facilities and management practices, the governance characteristics of co-operatives are different from business organizations. Co-operatives are membership-based enterprises, where members are owners and leaders, with a right to democratically decide on the major issues affecting the enterprise. Due to these characteristics, co-operatives have seen a renaissance amongst the workers in different sectors who are engaged in new forms of employment. The worker co-operative model has (re)emerged as an organizational model responding to the changes within the world of work. As against the conventional model of an employee earning wages by his/her labour, the workers play an active role in managing the planning and execution of the work without a direct employer supervision. However, the combined role of being a worker as well as the owner is not without its challenges. The evolving industrial climate with an increasing role of information and communication technology, automation, platform-based enterprises, growth of service enterprises etc. have created a major shift in the industrial eco system of economies around the world. Research in the area of worker co-operatives are still evolving and its imperative to discuss models and frameworks of successful worker owned-led-managed co-operatives, the challenges they face in the new economy and policy support required for their growth in the changing world of work. With the objective of engaging policy, practice and research, and to develop a favourable eco-system for co-operatives in general, we invite research-based contributions on the following sub-themes:

Sub Themes: