Co-operative governance and management control systems: an agency costs theoretical approach
Co-operative organizations have a unique property and decision rights distribution system that involve management problems and transaction costs. Such structure creates equity rights and risk transfers that directly affect these organizations' self-management efficiency. This paper analyses those costs and sources of inefficiency to explain their problems in two complementary and different ways. First it discusses main governance aspects that generate agency conflicts; second it analyses the characteristics of managerial systems which generate informational asymmetry and monitoring problems. An analysis regarding both property rights distribution among members and decision rights distribution between elected members and hired professional executives indicates that equity rights and risk sharing in co-operative's contractual relations leads to a typology on the kind of governance, the management model and the managerial information system characteristics which could reduce agency problems. The methodology used was theoretical discussion, and comparison of the management models and systems of rural credit and agricultural co-operatives in Brazil. A questionnaire was applied in five co-operatives to compare management models and systems. Our final considerations show that better co-operative's management model organization, as well as management systems, could reduce their agency costs.