Traditionally the performance of co-operatives has been examined primarily from a monetary or financial perspective. Hence, much of the focus and research has been on the economic efficiency of co-operatives. Although these traditional aspects and measures are important, they do not present a comprehensive enough assessment and understanding of co-operatives. To present a holistic evaluation of co-operative performance and complement the traditional approaches, we believe requires an examination of the member-relational aspects of the co-operative, specifically from a socio-psychological perspective. Therefore, this research was centred on identifying and presenting factors that explain the members’ relationship with their co-operative.
We identified three such factors –
1) Commitment – affects the willingness of the farmer-members to supply co-operatives with raw products, capital and managerial or governance inputs.
2) Heterogeneity – impacts cohesiveness and collection decision making.
3) Social capital – a vital social foundation of trust, satisfaction and loyalty on which the co-operative exists.
Consequently, a three-dimensional framework that encapsulates these three factors was developed and described. This framework helps explore, measure, analyse and interpret these non-financial factors; and more importantly provides a broad yet pertinent lens for evaluating co-operative performance. The insights generated from this framework could be valuable for decision making around the big picture, such as strategy, governance and policy making.
In the next stage of our research, the framework has been further refined and applied on a large NZ agricultural co-operative to examine the relationship between member and co-operative. The results of this exercise are currently under peer review and are likely to be published in the near future.
Link to article:
DJ (Dhananjay) Apparao, Research Scholar, School of Agriculture & Environment, Massey University
Dr. Elena Garnevska, Senior Lecturer, School of Agriculture & Environment, Massey University,
Prof. Nicola Shadbolt, Professor, School of Agriculture & Environment, Massey University,
Three Dimensional Conceptual Framework for Examining Agricultural Co-operatives.