Theories of Participation
Dan Arnett, general manager
Central Co-op, Seattle, WA
Dan Arnett shares his views on sustaining the cooperative identity through owner participation in co-ops. Expanding on the concept of Own, Use, Serve and Belong, Arnett sees the foundational aspect of the cooperative as an association and the function of cooperative business as integrally linked strategically. In order for a cooperative to be successful it has to engender these three criteria: a strong cooperative identity, a sense of cohesiveness among owners and the co-op, and being a compelling competitor in the marketplace. From Arnett’s perspective it’s important to “have a strategic understanding of what makes us distinctive.”
From education to outreach, Arnett thinks that increased owner participation comes down to understanding the cooperative advantage—why patronizing the co-op makes a difference to their individual lives as well as the community. “Marketing our co-op advantage means you invest in every activity that’s expressing the unique element of your co-op,” he said.
Watch the video here. (08:26 min)