Change in co-operative organisations : the case of Greek pharmaceutical co-operatives

Ntrinias, T 2016, Change in co-operative organisations : the case of Greek pharmaceutical co-operatives , PhD thesis, University of Salford.

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This thesis investigates how change unfolds in a certain type of retailer-owned co-operatives; the pharmaceutical co-operatives in Greece. Previous works have identified the type of changes (‘what’) that occurred in (mostly, agricultural) co-operatives and explained them through the “structural inefficiencies” of the organizational form (‘why’). Within this framework, change will inevitably lead from a member-patron co-operative model to a member-investor model. That dominant theoretical trend seems ill-suited to explaining change in complex organizations of hybrid nature like co-operatives (i.e. a business firm and a civil association). Therefore, the aim of this study is to re-examine the prevailing patterns of change in the co-operative organizations by observing the change process in a fundamental different way. For this reason, it employs a constructivist conceptual framework that it is based on the insights of the theory of autopoietic, self-referential social systems (Social Systems Theory). Following a qualitative research design and using empirical data derived from the study of three cases in Greek pharmaceutical wholesale sector, which have experienced radical changes in their traditional co-operative form, and the contribution of a key-informant, the research reveals an ambiguous situation: although changes have brought the co-operatives closer to the demands of the current business environment and to the operation of an investor-owned firm, the organizations perceive those changes as if they have left their co-operative nature unaltered. The outcome of thesis departs significantly from the conventional thinking about change in co-operatives. Change is not an inevitable route to the gradual demutualization of the co-operative. Instead, it is a part of the autopoietic process in which the communicative construct of ‘member-patron’ guides and orients relevant decisions and processes meaning necessary for the reproduction of the organization. Hence, decisions about change must primarily take into account the particularity of the co-operative organization (i.e. user-owned, user-controlled and user-benefited organization). Keywords: Co-operatives, Change, Social Systems Theory, Pharmaceutical Sector, Greece

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Schools: Schools > Salford Business School > Salford Business School Research Centre
Funders: Non funded research
Depositing User: T Ntrinias
Date Deposited: 17 Jun 2016 10:06
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 13:51

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