The objective of this chapter is to study how co-operatives use innovation (including its organisational and marketing components) to build their development strategies and to ensure their sustainability. We concern ourselves with the idea of putting the co-operative model back at the heart of academic discussions after a long period of doubts (Ory et al., 2006). The model, its evolution and its subsequent potential interests within the current economic context have indeed progressively come back into the spotlight in all regions of the world. To a certain extent we think this idea is legitimized by the choice of the UNO to make 2012 the year of international co-operatives. Researchers increasingly underscore in particular the specificities of the model. Indeed they become all the more evident in the context of globalization in which economic aspects outweigh social considerations (Novkovic, 2008; Shiraishi, 2009). In addition, this research addresses the roles that co-operatives have in stabilizing the economic conditions of producers (Dedieu, 2011), as well as the diversification of the model, often endangered by its own evolutions (Mazzarol, 2009). Within the collective reflection developed in this book, a special place is reserved for innovation, whether it takes the form of product, process or organisation innovation. Indeed, it is one of the main ways that co-operative businesses prepare themselves to face both current and future stakes.
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