Through its “Research” area of ​​activity, the Institute wishes to ensure the development of cutting-edge research on cooperatives and mutuals. The scientific production of cooperatives and mutuals remains, in number of articles, relatively absent from the most prestigious scientific journals. This provides a unique opportunity for researchers to distinguish themselves in a field little explored in research. To take advantage of this opportunity and accelerate the development of research in the field, the Institute offers research support and access to CoopGateway, the largest digital library in the world on cooperatives and mutuals to researchers of excellence from all disciplines, and their students. CoopGateway is also able to prioritize the needs of researchers for digitizing documents and developing databases.

Research support strategy

The Institute’s research support strategy ties in with the life cycle of social science research.

The researcher is responsible for defining his research project and funding it. The Institute supports the development of relationships with other researchers or institutions, and the collection and preparation of data on cooperatives and mutuals necessary for the research, preservation and dissemination of data and documents in CoopGateway. Thus, the Institute assists researchers in the necessary exploration of data on cooperatives and mutuals for their research and identifies, obtains, digitizes and organizes additional data of interest to researchers or institutions.

Phases of the research life cycle

Researcher’s role Institute’s support CoopGateway’s role
Development of the research question, obtaining funding for the project and planning the data collection Connection with researchers or institutions

Identification of data sources

Use of CoopGateway to obtain existing data sources
Data collection and preparation
Data collection and preparation Creation of database:

– Identification of available data within CoopGateway

– Identification and collection of new, relevant data (ex. document search, digitalization of documents in paper form, etc.)

Use of CoopGateway to obtain existing data sources
Data analysis and publication of results
Data analysis, formatting of results, writing and publication
Preservation and dissemination of data and documents
Preservation and dissemination of data and documents Use of CoopGateway to deposit data and documents. Their access may be public or limited, based on the sharing parameters established by the researcher

How to collaborate with the Institute as a researcher?

During the planning phase of your research project, please contact the Institute to discuss your needs. If your request is accepted, the Institute will then be able to support you in identifying the necessary data sources and CoopGateway documentation specialists will be able to assist you in your search for documents. The Institute can also provide you with personalized support for the preparation of your data. Some projects will start by reusing pre-existing data, while others will require the creation of original data (ex.: creating databases, digitizing documents, etc.).

A Scientific Committee composed of professors recognized for their high level of expertise will be consulted on the research projects of researchers and students the Institute supports.

Examples of teacher research projects supported by the Institute

Ann Langley and Joëlle Basque: “Invoking Alphonse: The founder figure as a symbolic resource in organizational identity work and strategic change” article
The research question of this article published in the journal Organization Studies is “How is the founder’s figure invoked in communications to build organizational identity over time?” The research was based on the Revue Desjardins, an internal magazine of the Desjardins Group, whose 582 issues from 1935 to 2015 were digitized by the Institute and are available in CoopGateway. Textual analysis methodology was used and the Atlas.ti software served to identify relevant excerpts and code the types of “invocation” of the founder, Alphonse Desjardins.

François Bellavance, Michel Keoula and Jorge Ruiz: “The Determinants of Mergers and Acquisitions and Bankruptcies of US Credit Unions” (in progress)
This project focuses on identifying the determinants (risk factors) that are predictive of mergers and acquisitions and bankruptcies, which is a significant phenomenon in the credit union sector in the United States. The database assembled by the Institute includes 210,000 annual observations and 70 variables covering the period 2000 and 2014. Researchers use machine learning methods, including an approach that integrates the longitudinal dimension of the data with classification trees to identify the best predictors of mergers and acquisitions and bankruptcies among the explanatory variables available in the database.

Luciano Barin-Cruz: “Developing and elaborating capabilities for institutional work” (in progress)
This project aims to understand how institutional actors develop the capacity to replicate and adapt their institutional work over time and in different contexts. To do this, researchers have analyzed Desjardins International Development (DID) projects in more than 30 countries since 1970. These projects were aimed at creating the institutional infrastructure for the cooperative banking sector, encouraging local actors to create cooperatives and centers of expertise, and to support local actors in their technological development, products and knowledge exchange. In order to support the researchers, the Institute has digitized several dozen documents on the various DID projects throughout the world and over time.

Examples of student research projects supported by the Institute

Carolina Hidalgo: Supervised project of the MSc Business Intelligence option: “Characterization of Brazilian financial cooperatives in a process of change (incorporation, absorption and bankruptcy) – Application of a discrete time survival model”
This supervised MSc Business Intelligence option project aimed to fill the lack of studies on the topics of merger (incorporation), absorption and bankruptcy in financial cooperatives and to develop the use of machine learning techniques in this field. The project was divided into four parts. The first part, the exploratory analysis, included the creation of a database, the construction of financial ratios and a univariate analysis. In addition to traditional financial information, macroeconomic and geolocation variables were also included. The database contains 23,306 records, out of 1,758 Brazilian financial cooperatives between 2000 and 2018. The third part focused on the application of machine learning techniques by developing a supervised model of discrete time survival for each of the subjects: merger (incorporation), acquisition and bankruptcy, in order to obtain a more precise characterization and estimation of the factors involved in these processes. The fourth part applied cross-validation to determine model performance. Mrs. Hidalgo benefited from Institute’s relationship with the Central Bank of Brazil to obtain the necessary data and information to her project, as well as the expertise of professor Inmaculada Buendía Martínez, a specialist in cooperatives in Latin America.

Renaud Deschâtelets-Lussier: Supervised project of the MSc Finance option: “Opportunity study of investment in fixed income securities of non-banking cooperatives and mutual insurance companies”
This supervised MSc Finance option project aimed to analyze a certain number of cooperatives as investment potential by incorporating the criteria of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec. A first part of the project consisted in checking the state of knowledge on particular factors such as the cooperative nature of a company that could have an impact on its cost of capital and the attraction for an investor. A second part consisted in analyzing selected cooperatives according to a certain number of criteria. To do this, reports from cooperative organizations such as annual reports, activity reports and financial reports available in CoopGateway were used.

Sandra Challita: PhD thesis: “Impact of ownership structure on market strategies, financial performance and risk: a multisectoral approach”
This PhD thesis explored the relationship between cooperative or shareholder ownership structure with market strategies, and financial performance and risk. It covers three fields of study belonging to different sectors: (1) French SMEs, (2) the French wine sector and (3) American financial institutions, each time adopting a comparative approach with empirical data. It contributes to the existing literature by having a cross-cutting vision between marketing and finance while considering the ownership structure via representative data samples. The Institute’s data banks on US commercial banks and credit unions were used for the analysis of US financial institutions.

See the “Access to Knowledge” section to better understand the goals and potential of CoopGateway.