The 22nd IGA annual conference will take place on Thursday, 15 November 2018, at the Eurac in Bolzano. Topic: "An idea as a driving force for the future?" read more

The 10th IGA Convention took place on 17 November 2006 in Grainau near Garmisch

In order to examine this general theme, the 11th Convention of the International Institute of Alpine Cooperative Research took place on November 17th 2006, in Grainau near Garmish, Austria. At a time when regionally based cooperatives are increasingly active on international markets, the question as to which future strategies cooperatives should pursue is inevitably raised.

The great current relevance of this topic was also explicitly emphasised by the meeting’s first speaker, Prof. Dr. Peter Welzl. In his talk on “Regional Roots as a Strength in Worldwide Competition”, the speaker asked himself whether regional roots are a “millstone around the neck” or rather a form of “legal doping”, and aligned himself with the latter view after a thorough exposure of his arguments. However, his talk also drew attention to the possible pitfalls of a regional, decentralised structure in the face of internationalisation. Nonetheless, he summoned cooperatives to adopt an offensive stance towards globalisation.

In his talk “Thinking Beyond Tomorrow Today”, the President of the Bavarian Federation of Cooperatives, Dipl.Kfm. Stephan Götzl, critically questioned the increasingly widespread practise of cross-border competition between cooperatives, which in his view should be replaced by reinforced co-operation and networking at an international level. In this respect, considerations regarding future cross-border mergers of cooperatives should no longer be a taboo subject.

Speaking on “Participation and Cooperatives – Regional and Global Markets”, the General Director of the Raiffeisen-Holding Lower Austria-Vienna, Mag. Erwin Hameseder, convincingly showed how cooperatives can strategically move to represent the interests of their members on international markets, in spite of democratic decision-making. In certain fields, “playing the game” on the international market is an important prerequisite for safeguarding members’ basic incomes on the long-term.

The closing panel discussion, chaired by Dr. Jürgen Gros, showed that the international orientation of regional cooperatives is not unequivocally embraced, given that is also viewed by some as poising a threat to the cooperative orientation of an enterprise. Where the limits are to be drawn could not be determined conclusively, however, and will doubtless give rise to further discussions in the coming years.

All talks mentioned here as well as individual contributions to the discussion will shortly be available in volume …. of our publication series. This will allow you to gain a general overview of the topic and explore a range of timely and interesting contributions in full detail.

Dir. Mag. Arnulf Perkounigg

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