Shared Services Cooperatives: A Qualitative Study - Exploring Applications Benefits & Potential
Publisher: Oak Tree Press
The story of shared services cooperatives is compelling for the breadth and depth of its utility across multiple sectors of the US economy. Shared services cooperatives are member associations formed to meet a variety of institutional needs for economies and efficiencies of scale through collaboration in areas such as purchasing, marketing, processing and distribution. They are organized and operate as for-profit or not-for-profit business entities and appear in a broad array of industry and public service sectors, providing a variety of benefits, services and opportunities today in rural, suburban and urban communities throughout the US. This qualitative study sets out to describe the ways in which shared services cooperatives are organized, who are the members, how shared services cooperatives benefit their members and why the members formed a cooperative as opposed to other forms of collaboration (joint ventures, subsidiaries or collaborative agreements). Shared services cooperatives in all the cases studied have led to long-term impacts in addressing organizational needs. All the cooperatives in this study have effectively served their members’ needs. Whether it was a cooperative designed to enhance competitiveness, or to lower risks, to acquire new sources of funding or to allow the cooperative members to scale up or sustain the organization, the story has been the same. The shared services cooperative works very well as a way to meet these varied needs.