in: Handbook of Research on Managerial Solutions in Non Profit Organizations, Vojko Potocan,Mustafa C. Ünğan,Zlatko Nedelko, Editor, IGI Global, Pennsylvania, pp.156-181, 2016
Generally speaking, not-for-profits entities have difficulty at staying clearly focused on their primary aim and at evaluating performance due to multiple and, at times, conflicting objectives. In co-operatives, members and donors have often far more diverse interests than shareholders in for-profit companies. The dimension of not-for-profit sector has increased in the last years. It includes a wide variety of organizations from charitable organizations, social service agencies, religious and fraternal organizations, health care societies and health organizations, educational organizations, environmental organizations, sports and recreational organizations, funding foundations, business and professional organizations, political parties, etc. Their purpose is to generate improvements in the lives of individuals and society as a whole. Some of these organizations may be considered as purely social impact-focused not-for-profit organizations, such as charities, while others may be primarily viewed as member-focused organizations, such as professional organizations. Co-operatives stay in the middle of these two options and deal every day with social and economic aims. In the last twenty years much attention has been devoted to developing performance measurement systems (PMS), which could encompass both non-financial and financial data. Several frameworks have been generated in order to allow companies to better evaluate their own performance by means of collected data. In the field of PMS, Kaplan and Norton (1992) published an article about the Balanced Scorecard. At that time, it was a new approach to strategic management. They recognized some of the weaknesses and vagueness of previous management approaches. The balanced scorecard approach provides a clear description as to what companies should measure in order to 'balance' their financial perspectives. Nevertheless few attempts have been made to provide public and non-profit organizations with PMS devoted explicitly for their needs (Micheli & Kennerley, 2005). The aim of the paper is to hypothesize a comprehensive evaluation model that allows to estimate the co-operative performance, starting from the concept of co-operative excellence following these research questions:
How cooperatives should measure their performance?
Is it possible to build a model usable for all cooperative industries?
What are the results testing the model on some case studies?
The chapter is structured as follow: in the first paragraph embrace the literature about performance measurement and the definition of the cooperative world, highlighting the specific features of cooperative companies and a proposal for their definition of excellence. The nit has been described the methodology adopted in this work: a multiple case study. In the third paragraph the findings on eight cooperative firms has been described and at the end of the chapter the last paragraph draws the conclusions and future research directions.