An evaluation of South African worker co-operatives against specified business success factors
Van der Walt, J.L.
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Although worker co-operatives form an integral part of the South African government's social and economic development efforts, these entities have so far not lived up to expectations. Based on the findings in previous studies, this research represents an endeavour to indicate that worker co-operatives have to achieve business success before they can achieve any social impact. For this reason, criteria for worker co-operatives to be classified as successful have been established and business success factors determined. The general conditions within South African worker co-operatives and the way in which these entities are managed and operated were investigated. The 111 respondent worker co-operatives were evaluated against the specified business success factors in order to establish the challenges they experience and management and operational shortcomings were investigated. Furthermore, a comparison was drawn between the management and operations of the more successful and those of unsuccessful co-operatives to establish differentiating factors. The article also contains a comment on the impact which these worker co-operatives would have on their communities, given their current circumstances. The results of the research clearly indicate the need for a different approach to worker co-operative development in South Africa. The article also aims to serve as indication of what possible future research is needed in respect of the management and operations of worker co-operatives.