Reconciling Different Truths About Isomorphic Pressure and Distinctive Behavior at European Cooperative Banks: Back to the Future with Raiffeisen's Principles

27 Pages Posted: 8 Sep 2020

Date Written: September 2020

Abstract

This article employs a new approach to address a key question in an expanding literature on European cooperative banks: are they still distinctive and sources of social innovation or did they suffer from organizational isomorphism throughout their history? First, we go back to the time when Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen (1818–1888) formulated his principles for the forerunners of many contemporary cooperative banks. Subsequently, we identify areas where major adaptations to the archetypical model of cooperative banks have taken place or are still taking place today. We integrate a detailed explanation of the backgrounds and motivations of these steps with an analysis of isomorphic consequences and loss of distinctiveness that have allegedly emanated from these adjustments. Against the latter common opinion, we place an equally well‐founded dissenting view and formulate recommendations to stay on or return to the cooperative track. Thus, we reconcile conflicting assessments in scientific publications and present a balanced view on the current peculiarity of cooperative banks, substantiated by up‐to‐date figures. With the economic disruption caused by the coronavirus outbreak, we argue that, now more than ever, cooperative banks could demonstrate their solidarity, long‐term orientation and local anchoring—namely bringing Raiffeisen's principles back to the future.

Keywords: cooperative banks, F.W. Raiffeisen, governance, isomorphism, regulation, social economy

Suggested Citation

Groeneveld, Hans, Reconciling Different Truths About Isomorphic Pressure and Distinctive Behavior at European Cooperative Banks: Back to the Future with Raiffeisen's Principles (September 2020). Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, Vol. 91, Issue 3, pp. 359-386, 2020, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3686659 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/apce.12280

Hans Groeneveld (Contact Author)

Tilburg University

P.O. Box 90153
Tilburg, DC 5000 LE
Netherlands

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