Re-thinking Rural Conflict, Cooperation Difficulties, and Failure: The Case of Rural Cooperatives

Alex Warlow, Edward Kasabov

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Cooperatives offer many advantages as a model for development of specialist agri-food businesses in rural areas. They allow groups of people to work together and build expertise, and are large enough to compete with private and multinational businesses. Here we report research that was carried out in Wales, UK, and which sought to identify the characteristics of rural, agri-food cooperatives. The empirical research highlighted significant rural conflicts, cooperation difficulties and failure which we document and theorise next. The research isolated select few issues that impede rural cooperation and highlighted factors that need to be in place for a rural, agri-food cooperative to be sustainable and successful and for cooperation to flourish. Rural cooperation problems and difficulties that were identified included weak loyalty, distrust, opportunistic and ‘devious’ behaviours on the part of members and other stakeholders. Lack of professional management, inadequate marketing and branding expertise were also distinguished as key determinants of the high failure rate of start-up cooperatives in Wales. Cooperatives which did not involve trading operations, such as knowledge transfer organisations, business clubs and show societies, appeared more sustainable and resilient.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRural Cooperation in Europe
Subtitle of host publicationIn Search of the 'Relational Rurals'
EditorsEdward Kasabov
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781137348890
ISBN (Print)9781137348883, 9781349467778
Publication statusPublished - 4 Nov 2014
Externally publishedYes


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