Centre of Expertise for Cooperative Entrepreneurship

Department of Work and Organisation Studies
Faculty of Economics and Business

The Centre of Expertise for Cooperative Entrepreneurship (KCO – Kenniscentrum voor Coöperatief Ondernemen) is a research and teaching centre of the Faculty of Economics and Business. It aims to set cooperatives, as a value-laden organizational model striving for economic democracy, on the research map and in education.nAs a cross-department platform, the KCO has faculty members coming from Finance, Strategy, Entrepreneurship, and Organisation studies. It is currently composed of 7 faculty members, 2 postdocs and 7 PhD students.

The KCO aims to conduct state-of the art research that participates in overcoming the distinctive challenges cooperatives face at different stages of their lifecycle due to their specific characteristics (democratic governance, economic participation of members, legitimacy issues related to impact measurement both at the societal and at the member levels, etc.). Research will embrace a diversity of sectors, for instance: agri-food business, in which cooperatives traditionally represent a large market share; renewable energy, in which cooperatives play a major role in diffusing adoption of new (sustainable) consumption patterns; and care, where cooperatives may appear as one solution to compensate state disengagement in social welfare. Currently, research conducted at the KCO deal with deliberative democracy, mechanisms of trust and control relating to member participation, dynamics in boards of directors, legitimacy of the organizational model, link with social movements, etc.