I was asked a couple of weeks back if I could help publicise the forthcoming conference of the UK Society for Co-operative Studies, which is taking place at Northumbria University in Newcastle the first weekend in September. Of course, I said I’d be happy to do so. I enjoyed last year’s conference which was held in Leicester, and which pulled in perhaps fifty or so researchers and cooperative activists for a weekend of presentations and discussion.
If I haven’t mentioned the event until now it’s because I’ve been waiting for the conference organisers to make the programme for the event available. The website for weeks has been announcing that the programme is ‘coming soon’ and informal attempts by email to get more information to share with you haven’t yet elicited any details either. I know that UKSCS gets by on volunteer effort and very limited resources (and August is a holiday month) but, with only ten days to go before Newcastle, I think ‘coming soon’ is now getting a little close to the wire. I’m sure the event will be valuable, but it would be nice to know what exactly is planned.
I have spent today inside the John Lewis Partnership. No, I don’t mean literally. I’ve not been shopping for bed linen or a new living room sofa at my local John Lewis department store. I mean I have spent the day reading a copy of the book A Better way of doing business?: Lessons from the John Lewis Partnership which arrived in the post yesterday and which I’ll be reviewing in due course for Co-operative News.
This is, I think, a very useful book which looks in detail at recent developments at John Lewis, and how the often radical changes which have been introduced by senior management link in with – or perhaps cause tensions with – John Lewis’s much-applauded ‘employee ownership’ model. The book comes from two Open University professors, Graeme Salaman and John Storey (one a professor of organizational studies, the other of management), both of whom have considerable inside knowledge of the workings of the company.
As well as my Co-operative News review (which I will flag up here when it is published), I plan to offer you a more comprehensive assessment of the book on my blog here.
I stopped off today while in Manchester for a coffee in the city’s long-established workers’ coop Eighth Day. It was good to be welcomed by a window sticker on the front door reading ‘Proud to be a coop’.
Happy to be a customer.