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Cooperatives as organization have mainly been explored in the field of business and management due to their operation in the business sector, and studies of nonprofit organizations have given little attention to them. Consequently, cooperatives studies have tended to examine economic outcomes, such as productivity and job security, comparing them to conventional business firms. Nevertheless, cooperatives are membership associations and have organizational characteristics in common with other types of voluntary associations. Furthermore, one explicit organizational principle of cooperatives is concern for community, and their contributions to the community have been covered frequently by media. Therefore, it is imperative to examine cooperative members’ community engagement, and compare it to other types of association members. Using a national sample of Venezuelans, the relationships between association memberships and community involvement were compared across different types of associations. The results showed that cooperative members had a higher likelihood of being involved in community matters than those from other types of associations. Although the Venezuelan cooperatives have received vast support from the Chavez government for community development, this result can have an implication on the cooperatives’ organizational identity as those who provide members with resources necessary for civic engagement beyond the organizations.


This work was originally published in Sociological Forum, available at



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