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An Institutional Analysis on the Management of a Namibian Women's Cooperative

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dc.contributor.author Watanabe, Shigeo
dc.contributor.author Farrell, Katharine N.
dc.date.accessioned 2015-08-11T18:33:06Z
dc.date.available 2015-08-11T18:33:06Z
dc.date.issued 2015 en_US
dc.identifier.uri https://hdl.handle.net/10535/9867
dc.description.abstract "Marula is one of the traditionally used multipurpose fruit trees in the North Central region of Namibia. A traditional custom rule regulates access to marula fruit and its processing into alcohol, which is a gendered collaborative activity for local women. After the abolition of apartheid the Namibian government helped establish the Eudafano Women’s Cooperative (EWC) for the commercialization of marula crude oil, which is sold to two foreign customers through trade contracts designed to increase the income of local women. The study presented here is an institutional analysis of the EWC cooperative that uses Hagedorn’s Institution of Sustainability analytical framework and Williamson’s four level model of economic institutions to order the analysis, complemented by reference to power relations and different rationalities following Hebert Simon. This allows us to understand mechanisms of institutional changes caused by interactions between cooperative institutions designed under a Western context and customary rules operating under an African context. Following Charmaz, grounded theory with abduction was employed to guide data collection. Qualitative data are drawn from a combination of document surveys and interviews with 31 individuals and a number of villager groups during fieldwork in Ovamboland Namibia in 2011. This study first summarizes the organizational model of the EWC as designed institutional performances. Parallel to these intended institutional changes, we found six institutional changes that were either designed but not generated or generated in unintended ways. Among these, we found, for example, that formal cooperative membership rules and decision making rules were substituted with rules-in-use based on local social norms; that labour with machine in the EWC factory was male dominated, reflecting local social beliefs regarding labour allocation and that correlations between wealth, education and authority resulted in the secretary of the EWC being able to use privileged access to EWC transportation to access the better quality fruits. We also observed changes the valuing of marula based economic activities and in rules regulating marula fruit collection at the village level, with some husbands of the EWC members collecting fruit in spite of a traditional norm prohibiting this. Findings in this study suggest that there remains much work to be done before stable management of the EWC is serving the original design aims of the cooperative, to serve as a motor to reduce poverty and malnutrition problems in Namibia." en_US
dc.language English en_US
dc.subject cooperatives en_US
dc.subject gender en_US
dc.subject institutions en_US
dc.subject power en_US
dc.subject sustainability en_US
dc.title An Institutional Analysis on the Management of a Namibian Women's Cooperative en_US
dc.type Conference Paper en_US
dc.type.published unpublished en_US
dc.type.methodology Qualitative en_US
dc.coverage.region Africa en_US
dc.coverage.country Namibia en_US
dc.subject.sector Social Organization en_US
dc.subject.sector Theory en_US
dc.identifier.citationconference Commons Amidst Complexity and Change, the Fifteenth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of the Commons en_US
dc.identifier.citationconfdates May 25-29 en_US
dc.identifier.citationconfloc Edmonton, Alberta en_US

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