The Cooperative model in the globalized market: the case of Azorean Agriculture Cooperatives
This paper aims at answering the questions when and how do cooperatives compete in the globalised world? With the goal to answer these questions, a qualitative study was conducted based on a sample of 9 consumer and producer farmer cooperatives operating in Sao Miguel. Sao Miguel is an Azorean island, which main economic activity relies on the agriculture market, where cooperatives compete in the national and international markets. The results point that Azores presents specific characteristics in terms of geography, market size, market characteristics and members characteristics that helps to understand why the cooperative model is a viable organisational form in this market. The second part of the results clarifies how these cooperatives are able to compete in the international arena. Their strategies encompass offering the best service or the best product; competing through cooperative networks. They also present professional management and operate under small margins, aiming at maximising benefit instead of profits. This paper sheds light to the role of cooperatives in local and global economies, and also questions whether cooperatives are inefficient/efficient organisations and under which conditions.