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Trust, Social Capital, and the Coordination of Relationships Between the Members of Cooperatives: A Comparison Between Member-Focused Cooperatives and Third-Party-Focused Cooperatives

Hatak, Isabella and Lang, Richard and Rößl, Dietmar (2015) Trust, Social Capital, and the Coordination of Relationships Between the Members of Cooperatives: A Comparison Between Member-Focused Cooperatives and Third-Party-Focused Cooperatives. Voluntas: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations, 27 (3). pp. 1218-1241. ISSN 0957-8765

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Abstract

In recent years, nonprofit scholars have increasingly studied the phenomenon of social enterprises which has become a generic term describing a wider reorientation among third sector organizations. The emergence of social enterprises has also led to a dynamic of hybridization and broadening in the cooperative sector, similar to an earlier dynamic of "economization", but this time on the other end of the organizational spectrum. This paper aims at developing a fine-grained conceptual understanding of how this organizational dynamic is shaped in terms of member coordination, thus contributing to a more comprehensive theoretical understanding of different organizational forms of cooperatives. Specifically, to highlight the difference to traditional member-focused cooperatives, the paper introduces the term third-party-focused cooperatives for those social enterprises which emphasize economic goals as well as control and ownership by a particular community (typically place-based). The key result of the paper is that with the shift from member- to community-focus in cooperatives, the main coordination mechanism becomes one of norm-based trust on the basis of generalized reciprocity. In contrast to traditional maxim-based trust member coordination on the basis of relation-specific reciprocity, this enables third-party-focused cooperatives to mobilize bridging and linking social capital, facilitating collective action aimed towards the community interest. The findings suggest that this identity shift requires a mutual re-positioning between the cooperative and the nonprofit sector, in terms of umbrellas as well as regulatory and legislative bodies. (authors' abstract)

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Richard Lang's contribution was supported by an APART-fellowship of the Austrian Academy of Sciences and by a Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship (IEF) [Project number 622728]. The final publication is available at Springer via http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11266-015-9663-2
Keywords: cooperatives / governance / reciprocity / social capital / trust
Divisions: Departments > Welthandel > KMU-Management
Forschungsinstitute > Kooperationen und Genossenschaften
Version of the Document: Accepted for Publication
Variance from Published Version: Typographical
Depositing User: Elena Simukovic
Date Deposited: 12 Jul 2016 09:33
Last Modified: 02 Dec 2016 17:47
Related URLs:
FIDES Link: https://bach.wu.ac.at/d/research/results/73836/
URI: http://epub.wu.ac.at/id/eprint/5102

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