Volume 4, 2009
A Survey of International Corporate Responsibility
Cooperative Values as Potential Hypernorms
Evidence from Large Cooperative Banks
In this paper I argue that large cooperative organizations, in particular cooperative banks, are better positioned than business firms to be ethically responsible, global citizens. These organizations include cooperative networks in France, the Netherlands, and Germany, provident societies in the United Kingdom, and Mouvement des caisses populaires Desjardins and credit unions in Canada. Large cooperatives are distinct from firms but compete with them and are major socio-economic actors in their respective communities. They are more predisposed to implement policies that are compatible with local expectations and simultaneously reflect fundamental macro-social principles or hypernorms. The advantage of these particular economic organizations springs from their institutional and historical background, and particularly from the cooperative values on which they are founded and which make them different from firms.