"The Governance of Co-operative Housing: Current Challenges and Future Perspectives" call for papers of International journal of co-operative management, until 15th Oct. 2012

In recent years, the issue of co-operative housing governance has gained increasing importance across different academic fields as well as within public policies in many countries. Changes in the institutional environment of social housing, such as the reduction of public subsidies, have redefined the role and identity of co-operative housing providers. On the one hand, co-operative housing initiatives often fill the gap left by the withdrawal of the state. Co-operative housing organizations also emerge in partnership arrangements for urban renewal and development as they are considered to have potential for achieving improved service quality, strengthening social cohesion, and even fostering political empowerment of residents. On the other hand, the liberalization of social housing policy and the changing competitive environment have led to a professionalization and stronger market orientation of co-operative housing organizations.

Against this background, two strands of governance research related to co-operative housing seem to be relevant for this special issue: First, external governance research deals with current transformations in the policy context of social housing and the increasing involvement of housing cooperatives in institutional arrangements in different governance spaces (neighbourhoods, cities and regions) as well as multilevel governance environments. The second strand of research deals with what can be called internal or organizational governance. Here, mainly scholars from management and organizational studies engage in the debate on the efficiency of internal coordination, control and accountability mechanisms, especially focusing on the measures through which co-operative housing organizations are directed.

Goal of this Special Issue

For this special issue, we invite high-quality contributions that strive to identify and answer some of the crucial issues related to the internal and/or the external dimensions of governance in housing cooperatives. We believe that the analysis of co-operative governance in the housing sector cannot be reduced to organizational approaches alone but has to be complemented and enriched by external, institutional governance perspectives. To address this two-way interaction of internal and external governance, there is a need for transdisciplinary dialogue, critical reflection on the concept of governance, and specific conceptual frameworks to examine co-operative housing sectors and their institutional contexts.

We welcome articles reporting on new empirical research as well as theoretical contributions dealing with the topics of how housing-co-operatives are governed internally and their external governance capacity. Furthermore, the special issue aims at reflecting the considerable differences which exist in relation to the concept of co-operative housing between different countries and even cities. In order to push forward transdisciplinary governance research on housing co-operatives, we invite contributions from fields such as management and organizational studies, to political science, spatial development and planning as well as urban sociology.

Delineation and Illustrative Areas of this Special Issue

The special issue welcomes papers from scholars of diverse disciplinary backgrounds, theoretical contributions, and empirical studies including cross-country comparisons and multilevel analyses. It covers different topics, such as:

  • interrelation of housing co-operatives and their institutional context (e.g. restructuring of housing policy and provision, welfare-state restructuring)
  • housing co-operatives and sustainable development
  • housing co-operatives and sociopolitical issues (e.g. social cohesion, mixed neighbourhoods, community building)
  • comparing co-operative governance with approaches in public and private housing
  • exploring different organizational governance approaches within the co-operative housing sector (e.g. member-based, market-oriented)
  • analyzing role of boards, stakeholder relations, ownership structures, accountability issues, legal aspects of governing housing co-operatives • governance and innovation in co-operative housing
  • relations between housing co-operatives and their members/residents (e.g. “tenant mentality” versus “ownership mentality”)

The term “co-operative” is not limited to legally incorporated “co-operatives” but is conceived in a wider sense as member-based organizations which are governed according to co-operative principles.

Publication Process 

  • 15 th October 2012: submission deadline for extended abstracts (400 to 800 words). Abstracts should outline the problem, clearly state the research question and line of arguments, and sketch the methods applied and the expected results. Abstracts should be sent to ricc@wu.ac.at.
  • 15 th November 2012: acceptance notice to the authors and invitation to submit a full paper
  • 15 th March 2013: submission deadline for full papers (length of approx. 4,000 words), papers will go through a double-blind peer review process
  • 30 th April 2013: notice about acceptance, required revisions • 15 th June 2013: submission deadline for revised versions
  • Sept/Oct 2013: publication of special issue Guest

Editors of this Special Issue

  • Richard Lang, PhD. Senior Researcher at the Research Institute for Co-operation and Cooperatives, WU Vienna, Austria, 
  • Dietmar Roessl, PhD. Head of the Research Institute for Co-operation and Co-operatives and Professor at the Department for Small Business Management and Entrepreneurship, WU Vienna, Austria.