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Research article2018Peer reviewed

Why Farmers involve Themselves in Co-operative District Councils

Morfi, Chrysoula; Nilsson, Jerker; Österberg, Hanna


This study finds that selective incentives induce district council members and chairpersons to work for the collective best of a co-operative membership. Being the lowest echelon of a co-operative's internal governance hierarchy, district councils constitute a link between the membership and the board of directors. Previous research indicates that district council members are often driven by a co-operative conviction and social concerns. The present study challenges this view. On the basis of a survey of all 191 district council members and council chairpersons of a large Swedish agricultural co-operative, it is found that the elected representatives rank low in terms of co-operative conviction and social concerns. They involve themselves mainly in order to get personal benefits; they want to gain access to information, mature personally and obtain inputs to develop their farm enterprises. The financial compensation is of limited importance.


Agriculture; co-operative; internal governance

Published in

Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics
2018, Volume: 89, number: 4, pages: 581-598

      SLU Authors

    • Sustainable Development Goals

      SDG8 Decent work and economic growth
      SDG16 Peace, justice and strong institutions

      UKÄ Subject classification

      Business Administration

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