About this course

This course addresses key issues of evolution, strategy, finance, member relations, and governance of cooperatives. Cooperatives are hybrid organisations, as they combine several objectives and incorporate characteristics of other (business) organisations. The course provides a mix of activities, including lectures, guest lectures, excursions to cooperatives, the writing of a short paper, and group work in which students work on improvement options for selected cooperatives. While cooperatives are strong in the agri-food and financial sector, the course also discusses cooperatives in other sectors, including energy, retail and housing. Also new forms of cooperatives, both in rural and urban settings, will be discussed. Characteristics of cooperatives in both developed and developing countries will be discussed. While the main theoretical focus of the course is management, organisation and economics, other theoretical lenses will also be applied, including sociological and psychological perspectives.

Learning outcomes

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:

  • Understand and explain the principles, purposes and different forms of cooperation and collective action
  • Understand and explain strategies and functions of cooperatives and other producer organisations in the agrifood sector
  • Understand and explain the impact of differences in the institutional environment (such as legislation and societal trust) on the organisation and performance of cooperatives
  • Identify options that cooperatives can use to address specific (financial) management issues, member commitment challenges, and other problems typical of collective action organisations
  • apply the acquired knowledge in an essay
  • reflect, in class, on the scientific literature on cooperatives

Required prior knowledge

Assumed Knowledge:
This course is designed for students at BSc and MSc levels with special interests in the management, economics, and organisation of different types of cooperatives. Basic knowledge of (financial) management and organisation is required.

Link to more information

If anything remains unclear, please check the FAQ of Wageningen University.


  • Start date

    28 October 2024

    • Ends
      20 December 2024
    • Term *
      Period 2
    • Location
    • Instruction language
    • Register between
      1 Jun, 00:00 - 29 Sept 2024
These offerings are valid for students of Utrecht University