A Conceptual Framework of the Co-operative Enterprise and its application to the Australian Grain Industry

TitleA Conceptual Framework of the Co-operative Enterprise and its application to the Australian Grain Industry
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2012
Tertiary AuthorsMazzarol, T, Limnios, EM, Simmons, R
Conference NameNZASCM Building a Better World
PublisherNew Zealand Association for the Study of Cooperatives and Mutuals
Conference Location21-23 June, Wellington, New Zealand
KeywordsABB, Australian grain industry, case studies, CBH, Co-operatives
Abstract

This paper advances theory and practice for undertaking research into co-operative enterprises. A theoretical framework is presented that examines co-operative behaviour at three levels, the macro-economic or “systems level”, the “enterprise level” and the “member level”. We test the impact of the theoretical framework‟s parameters on the diverse historical evolution of two large Australian grain industry co-operatives, Co-operative Bulk Handling Limited (CBH) from Western Australia and ABB Grain Ltd (ABB) from South Australia. The cross-case comparison of the CBH and ABB histories suggests that the impact of external “systems level” factors, such as government regulation, industry structure and natural environment, serve to drive and shape co-operative strategies. However the internal “member level” environment and in particular the configuration of the “four hats” of member identity as a patron, investor, owner and community member emerges as a critical determinant of co-op resilience over time. These findings highlight the importance of the development of social capital, member value, identity and commitment within co-operative enterprises.

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Refereed DesignationRefereed