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Adapting the ICA co-operative values and principles for interpersonal relationships

First written 2018-08-30 by 'asimong' Simon Grant Licence: CC BY 4.0


Interaction on co-operative social media raises the question of how we relate to each other co-operatively, and I noticed how the ICA co-operative values and principles, though written for co-op organisations, could be seen as potentially relevant. So this is my attempt to adapt the values and principles (but not identity) to interpersonal relationships. It is modelled as closely as I could on the original, with many words being copied directly over.

Co-operative Relationship Values

Co-operative interpersonal relationships are based on the values of authenticity, self-responsibility, informed consent, equality, equity and solidarity. Participants in co-operative relationships believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for each other.

Co-operative Relationship Principles

The co-operative relationship principles are offered as guidelines by which individuals may put their co-operative values into practice in their interpersonal relationships.

1. Voluntary and Open Relationship

Co-operative relationships are persistently voluntary on all sides. Individuals relate co-operatively because they continue to choose to do so. Co-operative individuals are open to the possibility of relating to a variety of people, on the basis of the particular shared values or ideals, and mutual or shared benefits, without gender, social, racial, political or religious discrimination.

2. Sharing of Relationship Control

Co-operative relationships are the responsibility of all the parties involved. Everyone participates in negotiating, setting, maintaining and revising the boundaries of their own personal involvement and spheres of control; and they share decisions about, and control of, the conduct of the relationship itself.

3. Participation in Meeting Needs

Where individuals have shared interests or responsibilities, or share the use of assets or property, they make decisions about what is shared by consent or consensus, contributing equitably as they are able, and taking care to be aware of the relevant needs of all parties. They seek strategies and solutions which work towards meeting the essential needs of all.

4. Autonomy and Interdependence

Each individual in a co-operative relationship is autonomous, and ultimately responsible for their own well-being, and for the management of assets in their own personal sphere of control. At the same time, they strive for their words and actions to have a positive effect on the assets and well-being of the others they relate to co-operatively. If they enter into agreements with third parties or organisations, they do so on terms that maintain both their own autonomy, and the sharing of control within existing co-operative relationships.

5. Education, Development and Information

All parties in co-operative relationships encourage and support each others' learning and development, as well as pursuing their own. By giving frank and honest information about themselves, they enable each other gradually to learn about their abilities, preferences, strengths, sensitivities, vulnerabilities, and the areas for growth and development that they are open to. They sensitively inform everyone — particularly young people and opinion leaders — about the nature and benefits of co-operation.

6. Co-operation across Relationships

Relationships serve the participants most effectively when they help to support, inform and guide each others' relationships with third parties, as well as their engagement with co-operative organisations, and other local, national, regional and international structures.

7. Concern for Community

Individuals relating co-operatively help the sustainable development of their communities through the example of how they relate to each other, and of how they contribute to each others' development, learning and well-being.


Disclosure: this is the kind of relationship I would like more of, both virtual and in real life.

Thanks to @Antanicus@social.coop in particular for jumping right in and helping improve the above. Demonstrating it so well straight away 😁

Please send me more ideas about how to improve these statements. It may be, for example, that it would be better to diverge more from the original.

Last modified: 2018-09-04.