The United Nations declared 2012 the year of cooperatives, emphasizing that there is an alternative to privately owned firms. While greed and mismanagement have caused world financial and economic crises, co-ops offer another type of business for economic activities that is less exposed to aggressive capitalism. This book provides a problem-oriented overview of the development of cooperatives over the last fifty years. The worldwide study addresses the major challenges cooperatives face, such as the organizational innovations introduced in order to acquire necessary risk-capital and implement growth-related strategies, the wave of demutualization in developed nations and their ability to construct an original consumer politics. The contributors to this volume discuss the successes and failures of the cooperatives and ask whether they are an outdated model of enterprise. They document a wave of foundations of new co-ops, new forms of collaboration between them, and a growing trend toward globalization. Generally speaking they show that this special kind of business will doubtless continue to thrive and to maintain an important position in a rapidly changing world economy.
About the Author
Patrizia Battilani is Professor of Economic History at the University of Bologna, Italy. Battilani is co-author of Cooperation, Networks, Service: Innovation in Outsourcing (with G. Bertagnoni, 2010). She has had articles published in the Journal of Modern Italian Studies, the Journal of Tourism History and Entreprises et Histoire.
Harm G. Schröter is Professor of Economic History at the University of Bergen, Norway. Professor Schröter is president of the European Business History Association and is on several editorial boards. His most recent book is The European Enterprise: Historical Investigation into a Future Species (2008).
Table of Contents
Introduction: principal problems and general development of cooperative enterprise Patrizia Battilani and Harm Schröter; Part I. Cooperative Issues in a Global Overview: 1. The geographical dimension of the cooperative movement Ann Hoyt and Tito Menzani; 2. A world of variations: sectors and forms Vera Zamagni; 3. Cooperative movements in the Republic of Korea Hongjoo Jung and Hans Jürgen Rösner; 4. '… What is the end purpose of it all?': the centrality of values for cooperative success in the market place Ian MacPherson; 5. Why cooperatives fail: case studies from Western Europe, Japan, and North America, 1950–2010 Peter Kramper; 6. Co-ops' new challenge: demutualization and its problems Patrizia Battilani and Harm Schröter; Part II. Selected Core Issues of Cooperative Enterprise in a Historical Perspective: 7. Legal frameworks and property rights in US-agricultural co-ops: the hybridization of cooperative structures Fabio Chaddad and Michael Cook; 8. The performance of workers' cooperatives Verginie Pérotin; 9. Organization: top down or bottom up? The organizational development of consumer cooperatives, 1950–2000 Espen Ekberg; 10. The politics of commercial dynamics: consumer cooperative adaptations to post war consumerism in the UK and Sweden, 1950–2010 Katarina Friberg, Rachael Vorberg-Rugh, Anthony Webster and John Wilson; Conclusion: 11. The decisive factors of cooperatives' future: their nature, longevity, role, and environment Patrizia Battilani and Harm Schröter.