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Ms. Bo Young OH



Hi, Ms. Bo Young Oh! Thank you for taking the time to speak to us. Can you give a brief introduction of yourself for our readers?


Hello, I am currently taking Master course in the Department of Management of Co-operatives at Sungkonghoe University; specifically, in Organization studies. My research focuses on organizational change, process approach and qualitative research. I would love to extend my field of research into the social and solidarity economy (SSE), community, regional research and gender. I am currently working on publication and translation of researches on Korean consumer co-operatives.


What drew you to the world of researching co-operatives?


I got interested in co-operatives while writing my graduate paper. While studying for my double majors in philosophy and management, I wrote a paper drawing the significance of ‘co-operatives’ and ‘sharing economy’ with the idea of modern Philosophy. Different from the typical major corporations, the member and community centered co-operative model, stimulated my curiosity because it is said to represent cooperation, solidarity and otherness rather than the capital, power and normality. However, looking at the various cases so far, I now feel that the co-operative model does not guarantee the superiority nor the mere benefits of co-operative values and principles. Rather, it builds the process of organizing and seeking the meaning of cooperation, solidarity and otherness within the discourse and discussion of organization. In this regard, I would continue to learn and study co-operatives as an organizing process.


Please share about the work done by CoopY with our readers?


I am also a member of CoopY, a researcher co-operative consisting of students and professors of Department of Co-operative Management at Sungkonghoe University. We conduct research, organize conferences and undertake consulting for co-operatives and social economy organizations. Speaking of Youth Co-operative Conference, we’ve held conferences every summer for youth since 2012. CoopY now carries out research projects on Fairtrade for the Seoul national government.  I participate in this as a research assistant on cases from the French speaking region. We are now developing a team coaching education model based on the Mondragon Team Academy.


What were the highlights of your experiences from the ICA-AP Co-operative Research Conference recently held in Tehran, Iran?


The research conference was such a pleasant experience to learn not only about the current situation of Iran but also various cases about co-operatives from other countries. I was very impressed that in Iran, co-operative sectors are a central part for the development of the country. It would be very important to analyze how the ecosystem of public, private and the co-operative sector contribute to the development of the economy. It is always interesting to know and learn from various cases of co-operatives in other countries. I hope to see and discuss the case studies from the presentation in the future.


How would you suggest we can bring in more young people into the fold of co-operative research?


Actually, the very reason that I decided to make a presentation at the ICA-AP Research Conference was to network and meet other researchers in the co-operative sector. So, I would like to suggest in two parts to have more youth participate in such spaces: Networking and Financial support. To begin with, networking in terms of business or research field would be interesting. As ICA-AP research conference focuses more on case studies than theoretical background, it would also be interesting to have a joint workshop session or project research with youth employees and employers of co-operatives or members of co-operatives with youth researchers. For example, school co-operatives and co-operatives schools would have youth engaged who would love to share and get ideas from other cases. Financial support would also be important to encourage youth towards the research field. To cover their independent living and research, the financial aspect must be considered as an imperative to sustain and develop their interests.