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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

Agricultural cooperative development and institutional change. Swedish examples from 1990 to 2020

Nilsson, Jerker


This paper shows how cooperatives’ changing organizational structures can be explained by the Theory of Institutional Change. When a cooperative’s decision makers receive exogenous signals, endogenous processes concerning  organizational adaptations start. Radical changes are met with resistance, such as the conver sion of a traditional cooperative into an entrepreneurial cooperative (where members have individual ownership) or a farmer-controlled business (external investors participate in ownership and governance).  Cooperative memberships and leaderships may have change agents who advocate for new institutions while gatekeepers try to resist them.
The development of Swedish agricultural cooperatives from 1990 until 2020 illustrates this theoretical reasoning.


traditional cooperative; hybrid cooperative; cooperative life cycle; cooperative demise; agricultural policy

Published in

International Journal on Food System Dynamics
2022, volume: 13, number: 2, pages: 115-127

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Economics

UKÄ Subject classification

Sociology (excluding Social work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Business Administration

Publication Identifiers


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