Decomposing the Member Relationship in Agricultural Cooperatives: Implications for Commitment



Agricultural cooperatives increasingly operate in strictly coordinated supply chains. It is important that members of a cooperative are committed to a customer-oriented strategy, otherwise vertical coordination can be costly and the loss of autonomy at the farm level might negatively affect the members’ commitment to collective action. In this context, how can both types of commitment be strengthened? This study decomposes the member–cooperative relationship into four organizational mechanisms—market, hierarchy, community and democracy, which all play a role in generating commitment. Data originate from 148 farmers, all members of the same agricultural cooperative in Brazil. The results suggest first, that it is possible to disentangle commitment to collective action from commitment to a customer-oriented strategy. Second, although members’ commitment to a customer-oriented strategy might be affected by market and hierarchy mechanisms only, commitment to collective action might depend on the four organizational mechanisms. [ L200; M100; Q130].