Co-op Members’ Four Hats: A cross-case study comparison

TitleCo-op Members’ Four Hats: A cross-case study comparison
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsLimnios, EM, Mazzarol, T, Soutar, G
Conference Name29th Annual ANZAM Conference 2015
PublisherAustralia and New Zealand Academy of Management
Conference Location2-4 December, Queenstown, New Zealand.
KeywordsCo-operatives, member committment, member heterogeneity, membership
Co-operatives and mutual enterprises are a special type of business characterised by a patronage relationship where the buyers or suppliers are also the owners as members. Challenges relating to member heterogeneity and commitment have been widely reported in the literature; however drivers of member commitment remain poorly understood. This paper advances a new conceptualisation of members as patrons, investors, owners, and community members. The Members’ Four Hats (MFH) model is used to conduct a cross-case study analysis of three leading Australian agricultural cooperatives, using empirical data collected as part of an ARC Linkage grant that studied the resilience of the co-operative enterprise. We illustrate the relationship between MFH and the delivery of an effective member value proposition.