Co-operative and Mutual Enterprises as a Business Model Innovation
Co-op Dialogue, Issue 2: Future proofing cooperatives through innovation (2022)
This article examines the nature of cooperative and mutual enterprises (CMEs) as an example of business model innovation. It overviews the historical evolution of the CME business model and its adoption of both economic and social innovation practices to achieve its strategic purpose. Historically, the resilience and sustainability of the CME business model have been shaped by its ability to respond to member needs through the application of economic and social innovation.
Tim Mazzarol, Geoffrey N. Soutar, Sophie Reboud, & Delwyn Clark
Customer versus member engagement: Does mutuality matter?
Journal of Co-operative Organization and Management, 10(1), 1-10 (2022)
This study examined the relative importance of customer engagement (CE) on customer loyalty (CL) and word of mouth (WOM) within co-operative and mutual enterprises (CMEs), and mainstream investor-owned businesses (IOFs). A large sample (n = 856) of CME members and IOF customers was drawn from an online consumer panel. CME members had higher levels of CE. For managers of CMEs the study shows the strength of mutuality in fostering member CE. For IOF managers, it suggests that CE does matter, and it should be monitored.
What roles do SME members have in co-operatives?
Journal of Co-operative Organization and Management, 10(2022), 1-11 (2022)
This study examined the roles members have within co-operatives using the "Four Hats" (4Hs) framework suggested by Mamouni Limnios et al., (2018). Interviews were conducted with executives and members of four large co-operatives from Australia. While there is misunderstanding and conflation of the four roles (e.g., patron, investor, owner, community member) found in the 4H framework, all respondents were positive in relation to these roles. This provides a good foundation for co-operative managers to engage with their members.
Co-operative Principles and Values: Does the talk match the walk?
Journal of Co-operative Studies, 54(3), 7-22 (2021)
Co-operatives are defined around a set of principles and values. If these are misunderstood, ignored or dismissed, the co-operative risks departing from its purpose and resembles or demutualises into an investor-owned firm. Adherence to co-operative principles and values can strengthen active members’ participation or diminish this if they are ignored. In some jurisdictions, a co-operative’s failure to adhere to these principles may place the entity at odds with co-operative law. A study of four large Australian co-operatives found differing levels of awareness between members and executives, with only five of seven principles followed, and alternative values followed. The implications of these findings are discussed.
Why do SMEs join Co-operatives? A comparison of SME owner-managers and Co-operative executives views
Journal of Co-operative Organization and Management, 9(1), 1-13 (2021)
Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) can benefit from membership of a co-operative. This study aims to test previous antecedents of why SMEs join a co-operative. We interviewed members and executives of four Australian co-operatives to investigate reasons why SME owners joined them. All interviewees agreed that the cooperative had to provide economic benefits in addition to information, business support, knowledge, and networking. The SME owners’ disposition of collective action towards a common sense of purpose supported the decision to become a member of their co-operatives. Asset, temporal, location & relational specificity provided the external resources through their co-operative to challenge the environmental uncertainty the SMEs faced.
Tim Mazzarol, Geoffrey N. Soutar, & Elena Mamouni Limnios
Member loyalty and WOM in co-operative and mutual enterprises
Journal of Services Marketing, 33(3), 303-315 (2019)
This paper examines the findings of a large-scale survey of members of co-operative and mutual enterprises (CMEs) that investigated the factors influencing members' intentions to remain loyal to the enterprise and to provide word of mouth (WOM) advocacy. A structural equation model was used to examine relationships between factors, and this found significant relationships between all constructs. However, emotional value and affective commitment were found to have the particularly strong influences. The paper provides a strong foundation for CME managers to build effective member marketing and communications strategies.
Tim Mazzarol, Delwyn Clark, Sophie Reboud, & Elena Mamouni Limnios
Developing a conceptual framework for the co-operative and mutual enterprise business model
Journal of Management & Organization, 24(4), 551-581 (2018)
The co-operative and mutual enterprise business model represents a unique type of organisation that has a dual purpose focused on both economic and social goals. For nearly two centuries it has played an important role in economic development, job creation and addressing market failures. However, despite its potential importance to economic development it has been largely ignored within the mainstream economics and management literature. This paper provides an overview of the nature of the co-operative and mutual enterprise business model and also proposes a business model framework or ‘canvas’ that can be used for research, teaching and strategic analysis.
Elena Mamouni Limnios, Tim Mazzarol, Geoffrey N. Soutar, & Kadambott H. Siddique
The member wears Four Hats: A member identification framework for co-operative enterprises
Journal of Co-operative Organization & Management, 6(1), 20-33 (2018)
Co-operative and mutual enterprises (CMEs) are organisations in which buyers or suppliers are also the owners, shareholders and members of a community of purpose. Member heterogeneity and commitment have been reported in the literature, but the drivers of member commitment remain poorly understood. This paper proposes that members identify with their CME as patrons, investors, owners, and community members; wearing “Four Hats” (4Hs). A case study analysis of three Australian producer co-operatives examined directors and managers perceptions of factors influencing members’ commitment and delivery of a member value proposition. The 4Hs emerge as stable patterns and the cross-case analysis illustrates their strategic importance and link to member value proposition.
Elena Mamouni Liminios, Tim Mazzarol, Kadambot Siddique, & Geoffrey N. Soutar
Co-operative Capital Units in a Non-Distributing Co-op Model
Co-operative Enterprise Research Unit (CERU), University of Western Australia & Centre for Entrepreneurial Management and Innovation (CEMI) (2017)
Co‐operative ownership structures have distinct benefits for their members, but also introduce challenges that can ultimately impact on member engagement, loyalty and the sustainability of the co‐operative. Various factors are thought to impede external capital raising, as well as members’ willingness to invest in their own co‐operatives within a traditional co‐operative structure. However, a variety of cases in Europe, primarily in the dairy industry, suggest opening ownership to non‐member investors can become a “slippery slope” that leads to initial restrictions on share ownership becoming relaxed, or even lifted, with the eventual loss of member majority ownership and control. This study uses data previously collected via a Delphi Panel and workshops with the Directors and Executive Management of co‐operatives, as well as feedback from CBH Group executives to adjust our framework for CCU structures as a sub‐set of non‐distributing co‐operatives (Mamouni Limnios et al. 2016).
Tim Mazzarol, Elena Mamouni Liminios, Geoffrey N. Soutar, Jill Sweeney, & Paul Harrigan
Market for Flavonoid-Rich Apples
Co-operative Enterprise Research Unit (CERU), University of Western Australia & Centre for Entrepreneurial Management and Innovation (CEMI) (2017)
This report summarises the findings from study of Australian consumers into their attitudes and preferences for Flavonoid-rich apples, in particular, a new variety of apple known as “ANABP01”. This study was undertaken by the Co-operative Enterprise Research Unit (CERU) at UWA with a focus on investigating the following issues: i) Consumer attitudes and preferences for Flavonoid-rich apples; and ii) Marketing claims that could be made about fruit, with respect to the health benefits.
Elena Mamouni Limnios, John Watson, Tim Mazzarol, & Geoffrey N. Soutar
Financial instruments and equity structures for raising capital in co-operatives
Journal of Accounting & Organizational Change, 12(1), 50-74 (2016)
This study examined the potential for using Co-operative Capital Units (CCU), a special type of financial instrument introduced into Australian legislation to facilitate external investment, while maintaining member control. A Delphi panel and six focus groups were used to develop a proposed framework for the use of CCUs. The key findings were that CCUs, which can be issued as both debt or equity, should be used to raise equity from both members and non-members. The paper offers useful insights for co-operative managers, professional advisors, and researchers.
Tim Mazzarol, Elena Mamouni Limnios, & Sophie Reboud
Co-operatives as a strategic network of small firms: Case studies from Australian and French co-operatives
Journal of Co-operative Organization and Management, 1(1), 27-40 (2013)
Co-operatives have been likened to a ‘network of contracts’ or ‘coalition’. This is particularly the case for ‘producer owned’ co-operatives that have small business operators such as farmers as their members. Although there has been some research into the strategic networking of co-operatives, there has been little attention given to the network behaviour and benefits to small firms as members of co-operatives, in particular to the benefits, risks and management issues associated with such networks. This research draws on case study data from Australian and French producer co-operatives to examine how small firms use co-operatives as a strategic network. It uses a conceptual framework for small firm alliances and networks originally developed by Street and Cameron (2007), and examines three research questions proposed in that study along with three interrelated theories (the resource based view, resource dependency and punctuated equilibrium). The study finds support for the conceptual framework and the theories as useful research tools. It also provides insights into the way small firms can use co-operatives to secure access to resources and mitigate environmental risk. However, the sustainability of these cooperatives is contingent effective network management, adaptability and the maintenance of member trust and loyalty.
Co-operative and mutual enterprise survey report
Co-operative Enterprise Research Unit (CERU), University of Western Australia & Centre for Entrepreneurial Management and Innovation (CEMI) (2013)
This report summarises the findings from a survey of members of ten co-operative and mutual enterprises undertaken in late 2012 and early 2013. The study is part of a wider investigation into the sustainability of the co-operative enterprise business model being undertaken by UWA. This is undertaken as a Linkage Project funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC), CBH Group Ltd, Capricorn Society Ltd and the Ravensdown Fertiliser Co-operative. The key research question guiding this study was: “How does a co-operative measure and communicate the true value of membership?” Related to this were questions as to the co-operative’s role capturing value in an integrated or vertical value chain, and what are the most appropriate means of communicating value to members? In this study the focus is on investigating the relative importance of financial, functional and emotional value on a member’s commitment and identification with the co-operative, and how these factors influence a member’s decision to remain a member.
The "Milk Wars": Winers and losers in the NSW fresh milk supply chain
NSW Small Business Commissioner commisioned report (2013)
This report from the NSW Small Business Commissioner examines the challenges facing the NSW dairy industry and the need for reforms to address imbalances in power and influence across the milk supply chain. This report considers the changing landscape of the NSW dairy industry and the continuing impact of discounted milk pricing ($1 per litre) across the supply chain since its introduction on Australia Day 2011. Previous studies and investigations into the impacts of discounted private-label milk have looked at the Australian dairy industry as a whole which does not take into account the differences within each state in terms of the degree of focus on the fresh drinking milk or manufacturing milk markets, regional differences, and whether production is primarily seasonal or flat line. The role of co-operatives is discussed.
Charles Harper through a Galbraithian lens: Agricultural cooperative and countervailing power in colonial Western Australia
History of Economics Review, 54(1), 92-110 (2011)
Charles Harper (1842-1912) has been rightly identified as the founder of agricultural cooperation in Western Australia. While it was his son (Charles Walter, 1880-1956) who established the principal cooperative organisations in Western Australia, Charles senior prepared the ground for the development of agricultural cooperation via his work in popularising the concept, implementing experiments in cooperative activities and influencing the development of government infrastructure and policy aimed at encouraging what J.K. Galbraith would later call the development of countervailing power. Harper was disinclined to express his economic thought directly and so, in this paper, Charles Harper’s economic thought is demonstrated within a framework of countervailing power.
Benoit-Marc Boyer, Delwyn Clark, Genevieve Dufour, Jacob Gakeri, Manuel Sanchez, Elena Mamouni Limnios, Tim Mazzarol, Jorge N. Pato, Sophie Reboud, & Vrajlal Sapovadia
Laws on cooperatives from five continents: The same reality, humanisation of our world
Des Lois Sur Les Coopératives De Cinq Continents, Mais une même réalité: L’Humanisation De Notre Monde. Quebec Sommet 2012, International Des Cooperatives (2012)
This book comprises a review of legislation from six countries including India, Canada, Kenya, Spain, Australia and New Zealand. Each chapter overviews the legal and regulatory environment in the country as it relates to co-operative and mutual enterprises. In addion each chapter also examines the roles played by these enterprises in terms of their economic and social contributions to society.
The History of Co-operation in England: Its literature and its advocates
Volume 1: The Pioneer Period - 1812 to 1844, Melbourne, C. F. Nicholls (1876)
This is the first volume of three volume set of books published by George J. Holyoake (1817-1906), one of the pioneers of the global movement in Co-operative studies. Holyoake was an English newspaper editor and journalist, who was a contemporary of the noted Economist Alfred Marshall (1842-1924), and both men championed the development of the UK Co-operative Congress, which became the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA). Holyoake wrote several books on the history of the Rochdale Pioneers Co-operative and Co-operative movement in the United Kingdom.
The Law and Practice of Friendly Societies and Trade Unions
London, H. Sweet & Melbourne, C. F. Maxwell (1876)
This book provides a detailed summary of the law and practice of Friendly Societies and Trades Unions in the United Kingdom with specific reference to the Friendly Societies Act, 1875, the Trades Unions Act, 1871, and the Conspircay and Protection of Property Act, 1875. It includes official regulations relevant to these organisations, as well as rules and forms used in their governance. The author, a professional lawyer, has prepared the book as a guide to practice. However, it also provides useful historical analysis of the emergence of the Friendly Societies and their role in society.
Consumers' Co-operative Societies
New York, Alfred A. Knoff (1922)
This book is an English translation of Professor Gide's original French work Les Societies Cooperatives de consommation. It provides a history of the evolution of consumer co-operatives from across the United States, Britain and Europe, with detailed discussion of the issues associated with the management of such co-operatives, including financial management, membership, use of capital, causes of success and failure in consumer co-operatives, worker co-operatives, and the relationship between co-operatives and socialism.