Executive abstract :
In the past, leadership principles for cooperatives have been discussed in a wide range of publications. Referring specifically to cooperative banks, some of these publications also attempted to define the respective leadership behaviour as “cooperative leadership”. However, it has recently been ascertained – as in the past – that employees in cooperative banks frequently perceive their leadership to “lack credibility”. This in turn leads to frustration with the “experienced leadership reality” (discrepancy between cooperative values and practiced/perceived leadership behaviour) (Kring & Walther 2016, p. 49). Hence any endeavours in the field of cooperative leadership will doubtlessly need to include a reshuffling of certain cooperative values (Blome-Drees 2013a, 2013b).
Set against this background, this paper aims to explore these endeavours, primarily by examining recent publications, in order to gain a clearer understanding of cooperative leadership. One goal of the paper in doing so is to find practical applications for this understanding in cooperative banking. In order to place the subject matter in context, however, I shall first provide a thorough definition of leadership in organisations.