Friday, December 15, 2006


Located in a scenic valley near the town of Aretxabaleta, in a beautiful building which formerly belonged to the Lord of Otalora, who 700 or 800 years ago ruled this entire region is the MCC coop Otalora. Otalora (nowdays), is in charge of training MCC managers in management practices and coop values, as well as providing an MBA to managers, a mini-MBA for technical staff and training for members who will serve on the Social Councils or the Governing Councils of coops. It also provides training/orientation to new coop members, providing them with a basic understanding of coop structure, their rights, responsibilities, the economic details of coop membership, etc.

Otalora also provides a manager location service for coops that need personal, from within the MCC world. That is they locate qualified managers from other coops in coops that have an opening that the can't fill internally.

Training in coop values is not extremely extensive. In the MBA, mini-MBA and other training they provide at Otalora, it is simply one part of the course, in the personnel management section. This orientation for new members is only a week or so.

Learning coop values, and about cooperativism is something that is mostly done on the job and over the years. Given that there are more than 120 coops in MCC, each with their own culture and history, members get a very different training on what Mondragon cooperativism is depending on where they work. Because once a new member receives the initial orientation to cooperativism they may never deal with issue relating to coop structure, management, renumeration, etc. all members who serve on the Social Councils and Governing Councils ( please see my next entry for a more detailed discussion of the structure of coops in MCC). Partly, it seems there is an assumption that the culture of cooperativism is widely diffuse here and within the coops. This is something I will have to investigate more.

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