A New Co-operative Paradigm

A New Co-operative Paradigm…from co-operative identity to competitive advantage

This part introduces the NCP (New Co-operative Paradigm). This NCP is essentially a change of perspective with respect to the inherent relevancy (and competitive advantage) of co-operatives evolving in the 21st century. At this point in time, we will focus (most) essentially on the concept of loyalty which is central to the relational paradigm developed by marketing experts since the mid 80’s. The NCP aims at establishing a natural convergence between the co-operative identity and the foundation of loyalty (of customers as well as employees).
Considering that loyalty (of employees and customers) can be a significant source of competitive advantage, it becomes possible to formulate the idea (hypotheses) that the co-operative identity is worth considering from a strategic perspective. For this NCP to emerge, we need to find reasons it can be attractive both to members and to managers. With those motivations in place, we can approach the management of loyalty from conception to implementation and execution.
Readings:

• Côté, Daniel, (2000). Co-operatives and the new millennium: The emergence of a new paradigm. In I. MacPherson, B. Fairbairn, & N. Russell (Eds.), Canadian co-operatives in the year 2000: Memory, mutual aid and the millennium Saskatoon: Centre for the Study of Co-operatives, pp. 250–266.
• Côté, Daniel, (2005). Loyalty and co-operative Identity: Introducing a New Co-operative Paradigm, RECMA, No 295, pp. 50-69.
• Côté, Daniel, (2009). How to establish a customer orientation: case study of a Desjardins credit union, Revue Internationale de Gestion, Vol. 33, No. 4, pp. 71-80.

Case study:
• Loyalty at the Saint-Roch-de-L’Achigan Desjardins Credit Union: A Strategic Priority, a Matter of Values1.
• The Bois-Francs Farm Co-op (SCA): in search of a new business model based on the relational approach…issues and challenges.

The first part of the readings focus on the foundation of the NCP. The theorical papers start with the initial idea of a NCP, introduce the concept of loyalty and its convergence with the co-operative identity, and end with the implementation issue.

With a good understanding of the concepts, both the NCP and loyalty, participants should turn to the cases suggested in this module. Those cases are documenting the action research done with pilot co-operatives since the early 2000. They facilitate the understanding of key concepts seen in this module while applying them to real co-operatives, allowing participants to capture key challenges management is facing when turning to a business model centered on loyalty.

Part 1 (300 words)
1. Discuss the foundation of the concept of loyalty, and its relevancy in today’s market economy.
2. Discuss the foundation of the NCP, its convergence with the foundation of loyalty and the inherent advantages co-operatives can develop based on this convergence.
3. Discuss the implementation issues in dealing with the customer orientation strategy in a co-operative context.

Part 2 (500 words)
1. What are the key factors co-operative leaders should consider in approaching the management of loyalty? Base your answer on both cases seen in this module.

a. The «St-Roch-de-L’Achigan» case 250 words
b. The «SCA des Bois-Francs» case 250 words

2. Express your opinion on the relevancy of the NCP when considering a modern approach to co-operative management (500 words).

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