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Co-operative Stakeholders. Who Counts in Co-operatives, and How?


  • Caroline Gijselinckx

    () (HIVA, Catholic University of Leuven)


Who counts in co-operatives, and how? In this paper empirical results are presented from recent quantitative and qualitative studies on Belgian co-operatives in which questions about who counts in co-operatives and how were treated (Develtere, Meireman & Raymaekers, 2005; Dujardin, Mertens & Van Opstal, 2008; Van Opstal, Gijselinckx & Wyns, 2008; Van Opstal & Gijselinckx, 2008). The exploratory empirical evidence is presented after a brief overview of recent insights in stakeholder theory, inspiring the way co-operatives’ stakeholders can be conceived. Although in stakeholder theory multiple types of stakeholders are distinguished, the evidence presented leads us to the conclusion that a continuum between weak and strong models of multi-stakeholdership can be observed in Belgian co-operatives, with most of the cooperatives studied situated in the classical single-member model and weaker models of multistakeholdership. We look for explanations for the emerging pattern and try to formulate ways to overcome hindrances for the development of multi-stakeholder co-operative entrepreneurship, especially in the provision of quasi public goods and services, a gingerly growing field in the Belgian co-operative sector.

Suggested Citation

  • Caroline Gijselinckx, 2009. "Co-operative Stakeholders. Who Counts in Co-operatives, and How?," Working Papers on Social and Co-operative Entrepreneurship 0905, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, HIVA, Cera Centre for Co-operative Entrepreneurship.
  • Handle: RePEc:hva:wpssce:0905

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    More about this item


    co-operatives; stakeholder theory; multi-stakeholdership; member involvement; member participation; member advantages; corporate social responsibility;

    JEL classification:

    • G39 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Other
    • J54 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Producer Cooperatives; Labor Managed Firms
    • M14 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Corporate Culture; Diversity; Social Responsibility
    • P13 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Cooperative Enterprises

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