Strategy performation to avoid degeneration: How producer cooperatives can achieve social and economic goals

Frank Siedlok*, Lisa Callagher, Ziad Elsahn, Stefan Korber

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
39 Downloads (Pure)


Due to tensions between social, cooperative and competitive goals, producer cooperatives (PCs) often degenerate by abandoning their cooperative and social goals or fail economically. We show how these pressures to degenerate into business-as-usual can be resisted and even reversed through a longitudinal study of Zespri, a cooperative responsible for 30% of global kiwifruit exports. We employ a performativity lens to theorise the organising involved in regenerating cooperative principles while introducing new competitive strategies. We explicate three types of performativity: performative dualism, instrumental performativity and performative multiplicity, and offer nuanced insights into how different performative struggles unravel and temporarily resolve through different modes of ordering (distribution, coordination and mutual inclusion). Our insights further contribute to organisation studies about cooperatives’ tendencies to degenerate/regenerate by showing the importance of organising the multiple, and sometimes conflicted, views of actors in a generative and productive way. Those findings can be extended to other democratically managed and hybrid organisations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-57
Number of pages27
JournalOrganization Studies
Issue number1
Early online date27 Jul 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024
Event34th European Group for Organizational Studies Colloquium 2018 - Tallinn, Estonia
Duration: 5 Jul 20187 Jul 2018


  • cooperatives
  • degeneration
  • organising
  • performativity
  • strategy
  • translation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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