Centre for Co-operative Studies - Journal Articles

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    Understanding business models in the context of Irish credit union transformation
    (UK Society for Co-operative Studies, 2023-10-18) Money, Nick; McCarthy, Olive; Jones, Paul A.; Byrne, Noreen
    Credit unions in the Republic of Ireland (Ireland) are important community institutions. Over the last decade, however, Irish regulators and government have commented on a strategically critical financial problem for the sector and called for a change to the business model, but there is no statement of what this business model means. This paper understands a business model as the way an organisation creates and delivers value for its customers and itself, so whether articulated or not, it is plainly vital to organisational success. This paper reviews credit union financial performance, engages with the literature on business models, conceptually and as applied to banking, co-operatives, and credit unions. It then considers how it could support the transformation needed for the sector’s successful development. The paper connects the credit unions’ enduring financial performance problem with the problem of value creation for their members, concluding that there are business model frameworks that could help credit unions restate their proposition, while incorporating their social purpose. However, there is no consensus among academics or practitioners about what the Irish credit union business model is and therefore what should change. A further knowledge gap is identified in relation to credit unions’ own perspectives on the relevance of business models and change.
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    Housing co-operatives in Germany: 160 years of evolution and resilience
    (UK Society for Co-operative Studies, 2024) Pfatteicher, Peter Alexander Carl; McCarthy, Olive; Power, Carol
    This paper examines the evolution and resilience of housing co-operatives in Germany from their beginning 160 years ago to the present against the backdrop of an ever-changing political, economic, social, and cultural environment. We divide the discussion into five parts: 1803-1914 — The Rise of Housing Co-operatives; 1914-1933 — World War I and the Weimar Republic; 1933-1945 — Destruction of Housing Co-operative Values and Principles, and World War II; 1945-October 1990 — A New Beginning. Housing Co-operatives in East and West Germany; and Post-1990 — From Unification to Today’s Challenges. We examine select events and developments and their impact on housing co-operatives. We argue that, despite challenges and threats, especially in times of crisis, housing co-operatives persevered, proving resilient and meeting members’ housing needs, motivated by self-help and supported by established core values and principles. Meeting members’ housing needs makes housing co-operatives especially relevant now, given Germany’s ongoing housing crisis. Lastly, we argue other countries can learn from the experience of German housing co-operatives, and establish and support a co-operative framework that allows housing co-operatives to focus on core values and principles, which are the source of co-operative resilience.
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    5 issues around cash and ATMs which new legislation will address
    (Raidió Teilifís Éireann, 2024-03-07) McCarthy, Olive
    Analysis: Maintaining choice in how Irish consumers can pay for goods and services is fundamental to an inclusive society
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    Leveraging the potential of co-operative agri-advisory services in the transition to sustainable and landscape-based agriculture
    (Brill, 2024-11-10) Byrne, Noreen; McCarthy, Olive; Ryan-Doyle, Martina; Irish Co-operative Organisation Society (ICOS), Ireland
    Agricultural Advisory Services (AAS) have always had a central role to play at each juncture in agricultural development and innovation. A transition to sustainable agriculture requires an agri-advisory response which draws on the agency and knowledge of the farmer(s), is more tailored to a particular local context and encourages the sharing of knowledge and experimentation across farms in a landscape. Co-operatives, as collaborative, farmer-owned and embedded entities, would seem to be well placed to play a greater role in this evolving agri-advisory space. However, there would seem to be little recognition of the current or potential role of co-operatives in agri-advice either in academic literature or policy discourse. This paper explores the current agri-advisory offering of Irish dairy co-operatives and their potential to offer an enhanced collaborative and landscape-based offering. It concludes that many of the elements are in place for such an approach but there is a greater need to leverage this potential, appreciate the benefits and enable a more farmer-centred and tailored agri-advisory orientation in co-operatives.
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    Deconstructing cardboard Muslim man: Masculinity continuum and women’s economic empowerment in Bangladesh
    (Sage Publications, 2023-12-21) Ondekova, Marcela; McCarthy, Olive; Power, Carol
    This paper analyses the construction of Muslim masculinities and their positioning towards women’s economic empowerment through a life history method applied to examine the lives of 12 purposely selected Bangladeshi Muslim men. The analysis of the men’s accounts positioned the narrators on a masculinity continuum, which incorporates three fluid masculinity markers – Antagonists, Allies and Advocates. The paper challenges the notion of one specific hegemonic masculinity, although some common features were identified, such as dominance of the male breadwinner and situatedness within heteronormativity. The narrators demonstrated a strong inter-generational shift towards rejection of violence and preference for peaceful intrahousehold relationships, even among Antagonists. The proximity of Ally masculinities to Advocates and their relational interests create strong potential for strategic engagement and guiding Ally men to adopt more progressive masculinities