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Abstract

The multi-stakeholder cooperative emerges as an innovative organization departing from the traditional single-stakeholder consumer and producer models. The multi-stakeholding approach aims at broadening the scope of those who have a strong stake in the cooperative's success. This, however, is not necessarily related to the notion of membership. This article develops this point drawing upon two distinct cases: on the one -hand the "hybrid" cooperative, characterized by the figure of the external investor and, on the other hand, the newly emerging multi-stakeholder cooperatives characterized by a strong community and social alternative orientation. It is argued that the two organizational types widely differ as to their short-term objectives and broader implications. Further to a theoretical introduction, practical examples illustrate the differential roles of both types at a time of growing market competition.

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