Prof. dr. Hans Groeneveld is Professor of Cooperative Financial Services. He studied quantitative macroeconomics at the Erasmus University Rotterdam and a PhD in the monetary economy at the University of Maastricht. His professional career began at the CPB in the department Labour and Social Security. He then worked for over ten years at De Nederlandsche Bank in the monetary respectively supervision directorate. Currently he is also Associate Director Cooperative & Control at Rabobank. There he is involved in strategic and organizational projects. He represents Rabobank in many networks in the national and international cooperative world. Previously, he held various senior and management positions at Rabobank. He was Senior Consultant Corporate Strategy, Dep. Chief Economist, Head of SME Sector Management and Director of International Services.
Prof. dr. Groeneveld is a board member of the International Raiffeisen Union in Germany, president of the think tank of the European Cooperative Banks in Brussels, member of the Scientific Committee of the European Research Institute on Cooperative and Social Enterprises in Italy, and the Co-operative Business Education Consortium in Canada. He has published extensively on monetary policy, banking, cooperative banks and strategic and organizational issues in academic and policy journals.
This article employs a new approach to address a key question in an expanding literature on European cooperative banks: are they still distinctive and sources of social innovation or did they suffer from organizational isomorphism throughout their history? First, we go back to the time when Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen (1818–1888) formulated his principles for the forerunners of many contemporary cooperative banks. Subsequently, we identify areas where major adaptations to the archetypical model of cooperative banks have taken place or are still taking place today. We integrate adetailed explanation of the backgrounds and motiva-tions of these steps with an analysis of isomorphic con-sequences and loss of distinctiveness that have allegedly emanated from these adjustments. Against the latter common opinion, we place an equally well-founded dissenting view and formulate recommendations to stay onor return to the cooperative track. Thus, we reconcile conflicting assessments in scientific publications and present a balanced view on the current peculiarity of cooperative banks, substantiated by up-to-date figures.