Edgar Parnell has managed, studied, researched and advised a wide variety of self-help and mutual forms of enterprise (SHEs), in more than 40 countries. He started work at a retail co-op in the North of England. He was soon managing shops and department stores and then turning-around declining retail co-ops in the UK. During the late 1960s and the 1970s, he primarily worked on setting-up and developing SHEs in post-colonial countries. Following the collapse of communist regimes in eastern Europe, he focused on introducing market based SHEs. He also worked in countries where SHEs replaced government-sponsored marketing boards. In 1980 he joined the Oxford-based Plunkett Foundation and was its chief executive from 1984 to 1998; after which he became an independent consultant, working internationally. During his career, he has worked on projects for significant SHEs, governments, European and United Nations agencies, and was a representative on national, European and international bodies dealing with SHEs. His experiences within a myriad of different forms of organizations has provided him with a unique perspective as to what makes organizations work and how they become distracted from their purpose.
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