The cooperative organizational form is by nature a sustainable one, which has proved to be resilient in the face of crises and a solid lever in addressing present-day societal challenges. Still, little is known about its socio-economic impact. Also, despite the plethora of studies on cooperative performance, research remains inconclusive about how to best measure it. In fact, scholarly work has largely favored the use of appraisal tools reflecting those of investor-owned firms (IOFs), having undermined the dual idiosyncratic nature of the cooperative organizational form, which is manifest in the business and social-membership objectives. The goal of this article is to fill these gaps by delivering a comprehensive dashboard for cooperative performance assessment that harmonizes business–social aspects and catalogs the basic components for future attempts. To reach this goal, we used an extensive review of empirical research in cooperative performance (phase 1) and a Delphi study with 14 experts (phase 2). In addition, we reviewed comparable research efforts for a business form (social enterprises) that combines business with social goals and faces similar challenges (phase 3). This inquiry was particularly insightful for the social perspective and the overlooked role of cooperatives as a socially-embedded organizational form that hardly documents its societal impact and outreach.
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- performance measurement, cooperatives, extensive review, Delphi method, interdisciplinary dialogue, social enterprises, socio-economic impact, INVESTOR-OWNED FIRMS, AGRICULTURAL MARKETING COOPERATIVES, ITALIAN SOCIAL COOPERATIVES, TECHNICAL EFFICIENCY, DELPHI METHOD, FINANCIAL COOPERATIVES, BUSINESS PERFORMANCE, COFFEE COOPERATIVES, EMPIRICAL-EVIDENCE, SUPPLY CHAIN