Cooperatives and internationalization: An analysis of the 300 largest cooperatives in the world

Cooperatives are usually portrayed as small-sized enterprises that operate exclusively at the domestic level. What is more, the literature highlights several inefficiencies of organizational and financial nature that suggest that these organizations should be nable to expand internationally. Among other aspects, it is pointed out that cooperatives are marginal organizations in most countries and industries (Podivinsky and Stewart, 2007), and tend to stay in a small size due to their democratic nature, com – munity orientation, and social purposes, which may become more complex to promote as these orga – nizations grow and scale up their operations (Rothschild-Whitt, 1986). It is also suggested that cooperatives suffer from various disadvantages, including the lack of funding and investment capacity in these organizations (Van der Krogt et al., 2007), the difficulties in establishing efficient decision- making mechanisms (Österberg and Nilsson 2009), and the limitations to attract and retain competent and valuable managers (Morales 2004). In view of this, the article aims to test if there are internationalized cooperatives in the current globalized world, as well as to analyse their degree of internationalization (based on the foreign market entry strategy), their size in terms of turnover and employment, their home countries, and the sectors in which they operate
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