The Co-operative Enterprise Research Unit (CERU) is a focal point for research, education and outreach activities focusing on the co-operative and mutual enterprise sector. CERU is a multi-disciplinary unit with skills that encompass the business, economic and social aspects of these unique enterprises. Our global research network offers a broad range of skills and expertise.
CERU was established to enhance the field of research into co-operative and mutual enterprises. We also aim to make a significant contribution from that research to education, policy, and practice in the sector.
CME Economic & Social History of WA Study
The economic and social contribution of the WA CME sector to the state's development, ARC project.
CERU has produced several research publications including books, journal articles, and conference and discussion papers. It also offers access to a range of publications not readily available via other channels.
The long history of Perth Building Society (PBS) between 1862 and 1987 is studded with the names and stories of many men – that they were all men reflects the historical period – who played larger than life roles not only in PBS but also in broader Western Australian society. Despite their prominence in their day, not all have been remembered in history’s page.
Mutual enterprises comprise a range of firms that are owned by their members, who may be customers, suppliers, or employees. They are commonly not-for-profit organisations that focus on achieving both economic and social goals for their members. Rather than focusing on shareholder returns, mutuals provide economic benefits to their members through the delivery of lower costs, discounts, and rebates.
The Kimberley is a vast landscape in the northernmost region of Western Australia, encompassing striking and dramatic natural features and a diverse range of wildlife. Moreover, the town of Kununurra, in Miriwoong country in the east Kimberley, exemplifies the region with its massive Argyle Lake, Ord River, Mirima National Park, and Bungle Bungle range. It is 3,206 kilometres from Perth, with quite a different climate of distinctly wet and dry seasons.
In a CME value is cocreated between the member and the enterprise through their commercial interaction. This involves economic transactions (e.g., buying or selling) as patron, and buying shares as an investor. However, the value that a CME generates for its members is more than just an economic transaction, it is also about a sense of ownership and belonging to a community of common purpose.
The Albany Co-operative Society Limited, founded in 1867, was the first co-operative established in Western Australia. It lasted nearly twenty years and left an indelible, although largely overlooked legacy. Its history is entwined with the story of its founder, William Carmalt Clifton, the manager of the P&O Steamship Co. coaling station at Albany.
Co-operatives and social Enterprise: are they a replacement for Mainstream capitalism?
Not all co-operatives distribute profits to their members. They choose instead to reinvest all profits back into the business for the common good of all members. This does not make them “‘non-profit” entities only non-distributing ones.
a decade of hunting co-operatives and mutuals - lessons from the aCMEI study
The ACMEI project’s origins date back to 2009, when the WA Co-operatives Federation engaged with myself and my research team at UWA to examine the co-operative and mutual enterprise business model. We were investigating the factors influencing the strategic behaviour of CME business models as part of an Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage grant involving our industry partners.