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Member Value in Co-operatives


  • Suter, Peter
  • Gmür, Markus



Until today there is a research gap considering the question, what motivates a member to enter or leave a co-op, resp. what are the reasons to stay in a co-operative. The majority of studies about this topic mainly focus on economic factors and the rational behavior of the member. However, co-ops also have other purposes not associated with financial goals. The presented paper is proposing a new perspective on membership in co-operatives, which combines the German-speaking as well as the Anglo-American line of research, and is a first attempt for an interdisciplinary member value approach. The member value approach focuses on the individual member, but does not ignore the co-operative character all the same. Members have got different expectations towards the co-op whereas latent preferences, based on the nine basic needs by Max-Neef (1991), and economic goals must be distinguished. Member value arise as a result of the match between the latent preferences and economic goals of the members and the latent and manifest benefits provided by the co-op, therefore member value is not a statistic, but a dynamic concept.

Suggested Citation

  • Suter, Peter & Gmür, Markus, 2013. "Member Value in Co-operatives," FSES Working Papers 444, Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences, University of Freiburg/Fribourg Switzerland.
  • Handle: RePEc:fri:fribow:fribow00444

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    member value; perceived value; basic needs; co-operatives; AGIL-scheme;

    JEL classification:

    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • L30 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - General
    • L31 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Nonprofit Institutions; NGOs; Social Entrepreneurship
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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