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Differences Between Governance and Management

Most organizations distinguish between governance and management decision-making power, and delegate these different kinds of decisions to different individuals, sub-groups, or forums. 

Governance refers to oversight and decision-making related to strategic direction, financial planning, and bylaws- the set of core policies that outline the organization's purpose, values, and structure.  Governance decisions should provide guidelines for management.  In most cooperatives, all members are empowered to run for and elect the governing body (often called the Board of Directors) and / or vote on certain governance decisions, such as changes to the bylaws.

Management refers to the routine decisions and administrative work related to the daily operations of the organization.  Management decisions should support or implement goals and values defined by governing bodies (such as the Board of Directors) and documents (such as the bylaws).  In some cooperatives, all members participate in the management.  Organizations in which all members can become equal co-managers are called collecitves.  In other cooperatives, one or more specialized managers make operational decisions.  These managers are often elected by members or hired and supervised by the governing body (which is elected of and by the members).

More information can be found in the articles about worker cooperatives, collectives, different cooperatives structures, and Part 2 of the educational resource available here.