The Growth of Italian Cooperatives: Innovation, Resilience and Social Responsibility, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Growth of Italian Cooperatives

Innovation, Resilience and Social Responsibility, 1st Edition

By Piero Ammirato


224 pages

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Hardback: 9781138067219
pub: 2018-04-11
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The Italian Cooperative Sector is amongst the largest in the world comprising over 60,000 cooperatives from all sectors of the economy directly employing 1.3 million people. Cooperatives created close to 30 percent of new jobs in Italy between 2001 and 2011 demonstrating that democratic cooperative enterprises can successfully operate in a market economy combining economic success and social responsibility. These offer a viable alternative to profit maximising enterprises and an opportunity to create a more pluralist and democratic market economy.

The Growth of Italian Cooperatives: Innovation, Resilience and Social Responsibility comprehensively explains how the Italian cooperative sector has managed to compete successfully in the global economy and to grow during the global financial crisis. This book will comprehensively explain how the Italian cooperative movement has managed to grow into a large successful network of cooperatives. It will examine the legislative framework and their unique business model that allows it to compete in the market as part of a network that includes central cooperative associations, financial and economic consortia, and financial companies. It will explore cooperative entrepreneurship through a discussion of the formation of cooperative groups, start-ups, worker-buyouts and the promotion of entirely new sectors such as the social services sector. Finally, The Growth of Italian Cooperatives examines how cooperatives have managed the GFC and how their behavior differs from private enterprises. It will also analyze the extent to which cooperatives compete while still uphold the key cooperative principles and fulfil their social responsibility.

This book is an interdisciplinary study of cooperative development and is designed to inform members of the academic community, government, public policy makers and cooperative managers that are primarily interested in economic democracy, economics of the cooperative enterprise, cooperative networks and economic development, cooperative legislation, democratic governance, job creation programs, politics of inclusion and how wealth can be more equitably distributed.

Table of Contents


  1. Introduction
  2. The Cooperative legislative framework: enabling growth and
  3. promoting cooperative principles

  4. Central Associations: leadership and economic development
  5. Financing cooperatives: members, markets and networks
  6. Consortia network: economies of scale and national expansion
  7. From large cooperatives to cooperative groups: a new cooperative model?
  8. Entrepreneurship: start-ups, worker-buyouts and social cooperatives
  9. Cooperative resilience: managing the global financial crisis
  10. Cooperative principles and social responsibility: people and communities
  11. before profits

  12. Cooperative identity: in search of a new vision
  13. Conclusion: toward a more pluralist and democratic market economy

About the Author

Dr Piero Ammirato is an Honorary Fellow, Politics and Public Policy, at Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Social Enterprise & Social Innovation

Over the last decades, in parallel to major changes towards privatization in the welfare regimes of advanced industrialized countries, social innovation, social enterprise and social entrepreneurship have gradually become "à la mode". They are interpreted in policy documents in market-economic terms, making social enterprises a valuable partner for policy makers looking for innovative ways of addressing social and societal problems, among which bringing the excluded back into society and increasing social cohesion. However, balancing active citizenship and empowerment, on the one hand, and market-based social service delivery and innovation in a sustainable manner, on the other, represents a daunting challenge.

In this context, social innovation is conceived as creative solutions to existing wicked social problems, at the level of both concrete outcome and process; and social enterprises are heralded as vehicles for such societal improvement. However, beyond the superficial approaches to social innovation, its relationship with social enterprises and social entrepreneurship remains to be better understood and systematized. Therefore, the series invites contributions that are committed to understanding the complexity of these transformations by engaging in new dialogues within and among all regions of the world, each with its specific historical, cultural, social and political contexts, as well as among disciplines, as these evolutions must be tackled in their multi-dimensional nature.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / International / General
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / New Business Enterprises
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Development / Sustainable Development