Affective Commitment in Co-operative Organizations: What Makes Members Want to Stay?

  •  Iiro Jussila    
  •  Noreen Byrne    
  •  Heidi Tuominen    


Affective member commitment is seen as an essential ingredient for sustainable and successful co-operation. It provides co-operatives with flexibility and helps to alleviate the problems of free-riding, property rights, and horizon differences. The importance of affective commitment is highlighted as co-operatives face the challenges of an increasingly globalized business environment. Co-operatives need to promote their members’ desire to remain as members and active users of the organization they own. In this paper, we review extant co-operative literature on members’ affective commitment and develop proposals on the sources of this type of commitment within a co-operative context. Hence, the focus of this paper is on the sources rather than the outcomes of affective commitment. Affective commitment is explained through three theoretical frameworks, namely organizational identification, organization-based self-esteem, and psychological ownership. Linkages are identified and a theoretical model is presented. Our work creates value for future research and practice of co-operation by summarizing extant knowledge on the sources of affective commitment, specifying previously unspecified relationships, and identifying avenues for future research.

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