Performance measurement in solidarity economy organizations The case of Fair Trade shops in Italy

Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, 2012, vol. 83, issue 1, pages 25-59

Summary :

The aim of this paper is to introduce a multidimensional assessment model for organizations that have multiple goals and are not driven exclusively by profit. Therefore, it is an assessment method particularly suitable for social enterprises. In order to measure the efficiency of production units in each dimension, the Data Envelopment Analysis non-parametric method is applied. Our case study is concerned with Fair Trade shops and members of the consortium Altromercato for which we collected variables that could be associated with input and output for the economic, socio-cultural and organizational dimensions. The results of the analysis confirm the presence of economies of scale in the economic dimension but not in the socio-cultural dimension. Moreover, our organizational analysis confirmed a low general professionalization. Our results also confirm, on the one hand, the more pronounced capacity of cooperatives to sell Fair Trade products compared to associations, which, on the other hand, have the tendency to achieve proportionately better results in the socio-cultural dimension.

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