Gerrits, Shared Value Creation and Sustainable Development: From Insights into the Process to Developing a Causal Model. Analyzing Energy Cooperatives in Different Institutional Contexts

Several authors claim that we currently live in an era of economic change because the traditional business models, driven by profit, are unsustainable. New business models evolve in the direction of a shared value approach, where cooperation among diverse parties (business, citizens, and government) is essential to create other values besides profit. This research aims to contribute to the theoretical development of shared value creation in two ways, hence empirical grounding, theoretical understanding and causal linkages in this field are largely missing. First by empirically advancing in understanding the process of sharing values with different actors. Second, by analyzing the dynamics and relationships between values, actors, and cooperation to develop a causal model. Through analyzing a series of case studies in three Belgium cooperatives and five Dutch cooperatives, I will answer the research question: Which values are created, which actors are involved, how do the actors cooperate, and how does this lead to more or less shared value creation in the context of energy cooperatives; and how will this differ across different institutional contexts? The findings show how various values, multiple actors, and cooperation are important to strive towards sharing more values. Additionally, new independent variables are discovered: professionalization and the kind of institutional context, which also influences how much-shared value is created. Furthermore, these relations are moderated by members’ differing needs, involvement members, organizational context, and institutional barriers. This study uniquely contributes to the knowledge of this concept by combining the richness of the field with a comprehensive causal model.

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