The conflict of honorary posts between cooperative tradition and contemporary business man-agement was the main discussion point at the 16th IGA conference at the KIMM culture and convention centre in Meran/Mais in November 2011. In his introductory speech, Mr Arnulf Perkounigg, Chairman of the IGA board, stated that, seeing management and corporate control as a whole, this conflict derives from various aspects. On the one hand, the current market situation as well as economic circumstances pose a growing challenge to those responsible; on the other hand, comprehensive legal provisions are permanently changing requirements for managers and supervisory board members.
Mr Eric Meyer, GM of the Institute for Cooperative System of the University of Münster, scientifically researched this topic and emphasised that the risk situation of cooperatives, due to their cooperative system, is generally better manageable than the risk situation of other companies. The cooperative model of self-management is particularly adequate to the risks taken. In order to maintain self-management while facing higher requirements, it is necessary, however, to implement preparations for structured information demand, communication and recruitment.
Mr Nicolussi-Leck, Chairman of the South Tyrol Raiffeisen Association, supported the idea of the voluntary official within the administrative, executive or supervisory boards, respectively. In order to contribute to a thriving development of the cooperative company, it is, however, necessary that all those responsible – General Managers, administrative and supervisory boards – pull together. In the end, it is up to the people in charge to fulfil their tasks in a dedicated and responsible manner.
In his speech, Mr Franz Krause, Manager of the Audit of Banks at the Bavarian Cooperative Union, elaborated on the tightened supervisory standards for supervisory boards resulting from the financial crisis and emphasised the need to adapt requirements to the business model, along the lines of “business, which is not done, doesn’t need to be understood or supervised”. He closely examined existing training programmes and stated that comprehensive training is necessary, but at the same time sufficient.
The subsequent panel discussion, which was hosted by Ms Andrea Karner, Chief Editor at “cooperativ” and included all speakers as well as Mr Markus Dellinger, Counsel at the Austrian Raiffeisen Association, and Mr Karl Paulhart, Managing Director of the Raiffeisen Academy, created the opportunity to discuss the topics in detail and address questions about future requirements.
A brochure about this convention to be published within our series (volume 16) is currently in progress.
International Institute of Alpine Cooperative Research
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Alpine cooperatives boast 100 years of success
IGA awards substantial prize money to support research on cooperatives, especially in the Alpine region.
We believe that it is time to work together on enhancing the central cooperative idea.