Land O’Lakes Venture37 and GENEX: Cooperative Resilience: A Comparative Case Study of Business Models in Crisis 

May 12, 2023

The resilience of an organization impacts the resilience of the communities in which it is embedded. This study used an embedded case study design to investigate the comparative advantages and disadvantages of cooperatives and conventional firms and their resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizations in the dairy sector in Rwanda and Kenya were chosen as replicates and qualitative data was collected through focus group discussions and key informant interviews.

The study found that both types of organizations have advantages that contribute to their resilience during a crisis. Conventional firms have consolidated decision making structures and, when CEOs delegated authority to managers, decisions were made quickly, and organizations were able to adapt. Cooperatives were able to harness the community and commitment of their membership base to weather the financial crisis. Cooperatives were more likely to retain all employees at full pay throughout the pandemic. However, cooperatives which had lost sight of their members as the heart of their organization are more vulnerable to crisis.

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