The Internet and social capital among co-operatives in Canada
Stoll, Jennifer A.
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Achieving public participation and creating community consensus in the framework of sustainable development practices can be an onerous task in the absence of social capital. This can be compounded when attempting to reconcile long term social and environmental goals within economic development objectives. The co-operative business model exemplifies the successful incorporation of both social and economic goals, and as such, represents a strategic model to advance sustainable development initiatives. Co-operatives are beginning to utilize the resources of information communication technologies not only in terms of disseminating information, but also in creating virtual spaces for engagement, dialogue and interaction. In addition, there is growing interest in how information communication technologies can facilitate networking and the development of social capital. This study proposes to investigate how social capital and ethos of the co-operative business model are particularly salient to the goals of sustainable development within the energy, environmental, food and agricultural co-operative sectors in Canada. Utilizing social capital literature, the theoretical problem to be addressed is if the Internet transforms, supplements, or diminishes social capital.