Creating and Supporting Co-operative Members in the West Midlands



Simmons R & Birchall J (2004) Creating and Supporting Co-operative Members in the West Midlands. Journal of Co-operative Studies, 37 (1), pp. 22-37.

Member participation is widely considered to be the lifeblood of democratic member-owned organisations such as consumer co-operatives. However, despite this recognition of its importance, active participation is often lower than desired. In this article we first establish why this is an important issue for consumer co-operatives to address. We then present a theoretical model we call the 'Participation Chain', which aims to unravel some of the complexity that inheres in an important question that has, up to now, received little systematic attention - namely 'what motivates co-operative members to participate?'. Finally, we present some research findings from a recent research project that tested the model with two types of consumer co-operative in the West Midlands region: housing and retail co-operatives. This research was conducted in partnership with the Co-operative College as part of a larger project that aimed to find new ways to create and support active 'stakeholder members', and therefore vivify processes of member involvement in the West Midlands.

Journal of Co-operative Studies: Volume 37, Issue 1

Publication date30/04/2004
PublisherUK Society for Co-operative Studies
Publisher URL…0000001/art00003

People (1)


Professor Richard Simmons

Professor Richard Simmons

Professor, Sociology, Social Policy & Criminology