Of increased earnings and empowering employees

MacDonald and Macknight (2012:122), present that, “Workers co-operatives’ organisational structure can be argued not only to bring increased productivity, employee empowerment, trust and loyalty, but also to produce a more equal income distribution than the comparable investor-owned firms, and a less conflict-prone industrial relations environment.” They also conclude the chapter by stating that the above is based on measurements using a “CoopIndex tool which provides a transformative approach to co-operative performance. Linking organisational effectiveness to co-operative principles and values, it enables worker co-operative to balance their social and economic goals without compromising them in research, diagnosis and intervention.”

Pitting the above against the generally accepted corporate practices and the prevailing two-classed social set up with it’s investors on the one side and the proletariate on the other, one has come to observe that, the latter tends to present a better success rate in the bigger countries across the world. Most small countries somehow, generally get pushed in to giving in to the pressures exerted by their bigger neighbours in the name of “co-operation”.

One has to recognise that the aggressiveness of an ‘investor-owned firm’ (Ibid), is generally absent in co-operative workers’ environments. One then does tend to ask oneself the question: why is that so? Why is there less apparent aggressiveness in co-operative workers organisations than in conventional, commercial, investor-owned organisations? Is it just the marketing and communication techniques which project them as such? Is it possible that they might consider one as an individual initiative and want to make the best of what comes at them whilst realising that the more they invest of themselves the more profit they will make whereas, in the co-operative model, there is more self-satisfaction and some comfort in realising that the quantities add up to make a bulk and that the involved parties or stakeholders take comfort in the false feeling of abundance generated until the point when the cake (or profit) has to be shared, which then turns out to be only a fraction of what it really is?

We know that most people working in investor-owned organisations do tend to pursue the “what’s in it for me” (WIIFM) mantra to the letter. How about the stakeholders of the co-operative model? Well, in most cases, according to studies carried out previously, the emphasis is equally laid on the WIIFM and WIIFT aspects of providing service.

O’Neill (2013) in Holmes (2013) points out that “investments in hardware as well as a nuanced internal training processes” leads to ” a better exploitation of sales opportunities” (Ibid). Holmes also cites an example of how  “sales teams can use Web Analytics to gather important information than can ultimately inform effective search engine marketing strategies that generate more inbound leads.” If the sales teams are trained in reading the data generated by various search engine optimsation (SEO) techniques. With that, the sales team are then considered to be empowered to take the data available to them and come up with strategies aimed at converting potential leads into effective clients.

Whilst applying the WIIFM and WIIFT filters to what Holmes has to say, if the sales and marketing teams work hand-in-hand, they will be able to get a better understanding of the consumer behaviour, which can be better achieved by means of the WIIFT approach. Whereas with the WIIFM approach, they might acquire knowledge on their own, but not sharing it will end up being tantamount to the organisation’s growth.

The above application can be adapted to all walks of an organisation’s life and will provide us with similar answers. It thus becomes important for all leaders to not only preach but practice WIIFT in their team, organisation and beyond to ensure that they achieve success.

Churchill (1947) “It is wonderful what great strides can be made when there is a resolute purpose behind them.”


L. Conrad (2006),”If Earnings Slip in 2007, Training Budgets Will Take the Hit”,Mains Street Community Banking and Finance, available at http://ehis.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.liv.ac.uk/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=4&sid=5350f9c7-fe62-4754-984e-53747844b5cd%40sessionmgr115&hid=105 accessed in May 2013

C. Holmes (2013), “Growth coaching must balance technology with employee empowerment” available at http://www.chetholmes.com/tips-and-advice/?p=29 accessed in January 2014.

D. McDonald and E. Macknight, (2012), “The Co-operative Model in Practice: International Perspectives”, CETS, Aberdeen, Scotland, available at http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=OKETjQp3SUAC&pg=PA122&dq=increased+earnings+and+employee+empowerment&hl=en&sa=X&ei=oU8oUYePF6HW0QXrsYD4Bg&ved=0CC0Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=increased%20earnings%20and%20employee%20empowerment&f=false accessed in February 2013

P. O’Neill (2013) “Understanding how customers buy will better inform your sales and marketing system” in C. Holmes (2013), “Growth coaching must balance technology with employee empowerment” available at http://www.chetholmes.com/tips-and-advice/?p=29 accessed in January 2014.