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Analysis of three factors influencing the performance of fishing cooperative organizations of Yucatan, Mexico Torres-Lara, Ricardo

Abstract

The purpose of the study is to explore and understand the influence of several factors that potentially contribute to differences in performance of cooperative fisheries organizations in Yucatan State, Mexico. The three independent variables examined in this study, as influences on fisheries cooperatives performance are organizational issues, market structure issues, and the ability of cooperatives to adapt to external change. These factors were identified as potentially important for fisheries cooperatives performance in the region based on (1) my six-year experience working with these fisheries cooperatives as a fisheries manager in Yucatan State, and (2) a review of the relevant literature on organizational and economic influences on cooperatives performance. The performance of fisheries cooperatives, the dependent variable in this study, is expressed in two alternative ways. One, based on the judgment of members, uses the stated satisfaction of a cooperative's member with its performance. A second approach for characterizing performance is based on the physical production of the cooperatives in terms of the average catch over a five-year period. The central tool for data collection and analysis is a mixed-methods design that includes a survey, face-to-face interviews, personal observation, and secondary sources of information. I calculated non-parametric correlation coefficients (Spearman's rho) between the independent and dependent variables. All correlations were statistically significant at the 0.01 level. These results support the predicted relationship between the variables that is, that cooperatives with more operational rules, stronger market position, and higher adaptive ability are more likely to be have members more satisfied and to report higher catches. Multivariate analyses show that the most important variable influencing cooperatives' performance is the number of operational rules, which in fact explain a little bit more than 70% of the performance variability, expressed as average catch per cooperative. The results of the study are discussed in terms of their empirical support for social science theories, their contribution of new theoretical insights into the study of cooperatives, and the implications for the management of natural resources.

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