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

Original Paper

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.

Keywords

Cooperatives Governance Reciprocity Social capital Trust 

Résumé

Ces dernières années, les chercheurs des organisations à but non lucratif ont de plus en plus étudié le phénomène de l’entreprise sociale, qui est devenu un terme générique décrivant une réorientation plus large parmi les organisations du tiers secteur. L’émergence d’entreprises sociales a également conduit à une dynamique d’hybridation et d’élargissement du secteur coopératif, similaire à une dynamique antérieure d’« économisation », mais cette fois à l’opposée des organisations. Cet article vise à développer une compréhension conceptuelle affinée de la façon dont cette dynamique des organisations est déterminée en fonction de la coordination des membres, et à contribuer ainsi à une plus vaste compréhension théorique des différentes formes d’organisation des coopératives. Plus précisément, afin de souligner la différence avec des coopératives traditionnelles orientées vers leurs membres, l’article introduit l’expression de coopératives orientées vers les tiers pour les entreprises sociales qui mettent l’accent sur des objectifs économiques, mais aussi le contrôle et la propriété par une communauté (généralement locale). Le principal résultat de cet article, c’est qu’en passant d’une priorité donnée aux membres à une priorité donnée à la communauté locale dans les coopératives, le mécanisme principal de coordination devient celui d’une confiance normative, sous réserve de réciprocité généralisée. Contrairement à la coordination par les membres d’une confiance basée sur une maxime traditionnelle, qui s’appuie sur une réciprocité propre aux relations, cela permet aux coopératives centrées sur les tiers de mobiliser le capital social d’accointances et le capital social d’attachement afin de faciliter une action collective tournée vers l’intérêt de la communauté. Les résultats montrent que ce changement d’identité nécessite un repositionnement réciproque entre la coopérative et le secteur à but non lucratif, au niveau des organes fédérateurs et des organes de règlementation et législatifs.

Zusammenfassung

In den letzten Jahren haben Wissenschaftler im Nonprofit Sektor vermehrt das Phänomen der Sozialunternehmen untersucht, welches sich zu einem allgemeinen Begriff entwickelt hat, der eine größere Umorientierung von Organisationen des Dritten Sektors beschreibt. Die Entstehung von Sozialunternehmen hat darüber hinaus zu einer Dynamik der Hybridisierung und Erweiterung im Genossenschaftssektor geführt, die der früheren Dynamik der „Ökonomisierung“ ähnelt, nur dass sie dieses Mal am anderen Ende des organisationalen Spektrums stattfindet. Ziel dieses Beitrags ist es, zu einem differenzierten konzeptuellen Verständnis darüber zu gelangen, wie sich diese Organisationsdynamik mit Bezug auf die Mitgliederkoordination gestaltet. Somit trägt sie zu einem umfassenderen theoretischen Verständnis der unterschiedlichen Organisationsformen von Genossenschaften bei. Um insbesondere den Unterschied zu den traditionellen auf Mitglieder ausgerichteten Genossenschaften hervorzuheben, wird der Begriff „auf Dritte ausgerichtete Genossenschaften“ für diejenigen Sozialunternehmen eingeführt, die sich auf ökonomische Ziele sowie die Steuerung und Mitverantwortung einer bestimmten (in der Regel ortsbezogenen) Gemeinschaft konzentrieren. Der Beitrag kommt zu dem wichtigen Ergebnis, dass zum Unterschied einer auf Mitglieder ausgerichteten Genossenschaft, bei Genossenschaften, die sich auf die Gemeinschaft konzentrieren, der zentrale Koordinationsmechanismus normenbasiertes Vertrauen auf der Grundlage der generalisierten Reziprozität ist. Im Gegensatz zur traditionellen Mitgliederkoordination mittels maximenbasierten Vertrauens auf der Grundlage der beziehungsspezifischen Reziprozität ist es auf Dritte ausgerichteten Genossenschaften möglich, brückenbildendes und verknüpfendes Sozialkapital zu mobilisieren und ein kollektives Handeln zur Förderung des Gemeinschaftsinteresses zu ermöglichen. Die Ergebnisse weisen darauf hin, dass dieser Identitätswandel eine gegenseitige Neupositionierung des genossenschaftlichen und des Nonprofit Sektors hinsichtlich der Dachverbände sowie von Aufsichtsbehörden und gesetzgebenden Körperschaften erfordert.

Resumen

En años recientes, los eruditos de las organizaciones sin ánimo de lucro han estudiado cada vez más el fenómenos de las empresas sociales que se ha convertido en un término genérico que describe una reorientación más amplia entre las organizaciones del sector terciario. El surgimiento de empresas sociales ha llevado también a una dinámica de hibridación y ampliación del sector cooperativo, similar a una dinámica anterior de “economización”, pero esta vez, en el otro extremo del espectro organizativo. El presente documento tiene como objetivo desarrollar una comprensión conceptual minuciosa de cómo toma forma esta dinámica organizativa en términos de coordinación de los miembros, contribuyendo de este modo a una comprensión teórica más integral de diferentes formas organizativas de las cooperativas. Específicamente, para destacar la diferencia con respecto a las cooperativas tradicionales centradas en los miembros, el presente documento presenta el término cooperativas centradas en terceras partes para aquellas empresas sociales que hacen hincapié en las metas económicas así como también en el control y la apropiación por parte de una comunidad específica (normalmente basadas en el lugar). El resultado clave del documento es que con el cambio de enfoque de los miembros a la comunidad en las cooperativas, el principal mecanismo de coordinación se convierte en un mecanismo de confianza basada en las normas en base a la reciprocidad generalizada. En contraste con la coordinación tradicional de los miembros mediante un mecanismo de confianza basada en máximas en base a la reciprocidad específica de la relación, esto permite movilizarse a las cooperativas enfocadas en terceras partes uniendo y enlazando el capital social, facilitando la acción colectiva dirigida al interés de la comunidad. Los hallazgos sugieren que este cambio de identidad requiere un reposicionamiento mutuo entre las cooperativas y el sector de las organizaciones sin ánimo de lucro, en términos de paraguas así como también en términos de organismos reguladores y legislativos.

摘要

近年来,公益学者越来越多地研究在第三部门组织中成为描述更广泛重新定位通用词的社会企业现象。社会企业的出现也同样导致在合作领域动态的多样化和扩展,此类似与此前“经济化”的动态,但这次是在组织谱的另一端。本文旨在对组织动态如何在成员协调中形成做出一个细致概念上的理解,从而对不同合作企业组织形式做出更全面的理论理解。具体来说,强调传统合作企业重视成员的区别,本文介绍了对于强调经济目标的社会企业和特定团体(通常是场所型)控制和所有的社会企业来说的重视第三方的术语。本文的一个主要结果是,随着在合作企业中以重视成员到重视团体的改变,主要协调机制变成了在广义互惠基础上的基于规范的信任。不同于基于特有关系互惠的准则信任成员协调,这使得重视第三方的合作企业组织连接和联系社会资本,促进以团体利益为目标的集体行动。研究结果表明:此确定了转变需要合作企业和关于庇护及监管和立法机构的非营利部门的相互重新定位。

要約

非営利団体の研究者は近年、第3セクターの組織間において、広範囲の方向転換を示す一般的な用語である社会的企業の現象を研究している。社会的企業の出現は、「経済化」のダイナミックに類似した他方の動的組織のスペクトルとなる協力部門の拡大と混合のダイナミックを導いてきた。本論文はこの組織のダイナミックがどのようにメンバー調整の面で形成されているか、異なる協同組合の組織形態の包括的な理論的に貢献するかという概念の理解を目指している。具体的には、従来のメンバーにおける協調性の相違に焦点を当てるために、 (従来通り) 特定のコミュニティが所有権を管理して、経済的な目的を強調して、社会的企業における第三者の協力を紹介する。本論文の重要な結果から、メンバーから協調性に焦点を当てたコミュニティであり、調整メカニズムは一般的な相互関係を基にした標準ベースの信頼感であることがわかった。伝統的な最大ベースの信頼関係特有の相互関係とは対照的に、社会資本を橋渡ししてつなげて、コミュニティの利益を目指した集団行動を促進する第三者に焦点を当てた協調性が可能となる。結果から、このアイデンティティのシフトでは、規制および立法機関の面において、非営利セクター間の相互再配置が必要とされることがわかった。

ملخص

في السنوات الأخيرة، قام العلماء الذين لا يسعون للربح بدراسة متزايدة لظاهرة المشاريع الإجتماعية التي أصبحت مصطلح عام يصف إعادة توجيه أوسع بين منظمات القطاع الثالث. أدى ظهور المؤسسات الإجتماعية أيضا إلى ديناميكية التهجين والتوسع في القطاع التعاوني، مثل للديناميكية السابقة لممارسة الإقتصاد و التوفير، لكن هذه المرة على الطرف الآخر من الطيف التنظيمي. يهدف هذا البحث إلى تطوير الفهم التصوري الصحيح لكيف تتشكل هذه الديناميكية التنظيمية من حيث تنسيق الأعضاء، مما يسهم إلى التوصل إلى فهم أشمل نظري للأشكال التنظيمية المختلفة للقطاع التعاوني.على وجه التحديد، لتسليط الضوء على إختلافات بين العضو التقليدي- التعاونيات القادرة على الفهم الواضح، البحث يقدم مصطلح الطرف ثالث- التعاونيات القادرة على الفهم الواضح لتلك المشاريع الإجتماعية التي تؤكد على الأهداف الاقتصادية وكذلك السيطرة والتملك من مجتمع معين (عادة على أساس المكان). النتيجة الرئيسية لهذا البحث هي أن مع التحول من عضو- لمجتمع التركيز في التعاونيات، تصبح آلية تنسيق رئيسية واحدة من الثقة على أساس المعيار على أساس المعاملة بالمثل الذي تم تعميمه. على النقيض من تنسيق ثقة الاعضاء القائم على مبدأ تقليدي على أساس المعاملة بالمثل بنسبة محددة، هذا يتيح طرف ثالث - التعاونيات القادرة على الفهم الواضح لتعبئة جسر وربط رأس المال الإجتماعي، تسهيل العمل الجماعي الهادف نحو مصلحة المجتمع. تشير النتائج إلى أن هذا التحول للهوية يتطلب تغيير مواقع مشترك بين القطاع التعاوني والقطاع الغيرالربحي، من حيث وسائل الحماية وكذلك الهيئات التنظيمية والتشريعية.

Notes

Acknowledgments

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].

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Copyright information

© International Society for Third-Sector Research and The Johns Hopkins University 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Isabella Hatak
    • 1
    • 3
    • 5
  • Richard Lang
    • 2
    • 3
  • Dietmar Roessl
    • 4
  1. 1.Institute for SME Management and EntrepreneurshipWU Vienna University of Economics and BusinessViennaAustria
  2. 2.Housing and Communities Research Group, School of Social PolicyUniversity of BirminghamBirminghamUK
  3. 3.Institute for Innovation Management (IFI)Johannes Kepler University LinzLinzAustria
  4. 4.RiCC – Research Institute for Co-operation and Co-operativesWU Vienna University of Economics and BusinessViennaAustria
  5. 5.Dutch Institute for Knowledge Intensive Entrepreneurship (NIKOS)University of TwenteEnschedeThe Netherlands

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