E John Vodonick


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The nature of this project was to use methods of action research to investigate the feasibility of developing a process to implement a code of ethical merchandising for use by a member owned co-operative market.

     Initial research was to determine the nature, and extent of current ethical positions of the Co-op was undertaken using documentary sources only. Following the initial research of the published positions of the organization a series of meetings were scheduled with various stakeholders. The meetings were action research sessions. The researcher used a series of questions to facilitate discussion among the participants at the meetings. The participants identified a variety of problems involved in the implementation of an ethical code of merchandising, and created methods and processes of resolving those problems.

     An ethical merchandising code that is oriented to a telos of sustainability is a worthwhile project for a community member-owned market. The adoption of such a code, and of processes to implement the same, requires the participation of stakeholders in the Co-operative. The ethos of the various stakeholders must be balanced against the need of the enterprise to remain financially stable.  This balancing process requires adopting an ethical code that involves the co-operative membership the in process of establishing ethical criteria for the selection of products, and in vetting the potential products for sale. The use of knowledge and the means of production of knowledge are seen as an ethical process in and of themselves, as well as carrying out the mandate of the mission statement of the enterprise.


ethics; knowledge and power; co-operative; social systems design

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