The to-date experience in the development of rural co-operative movement in Poland points to the movement's continuing marginalisation. The country's economic life has become dominated by enterprises that concentrate their efforts on very practical business activities. Activities serving educational purposes, such as those usually pursued by co-operatives, are on the wane. A part of co-operatives has launched efforts to continue their activity in the new social-economic conditions. Operation in a competitive environment makes it necessary to acquire specific knowledge and managerial skills, as well as to search for new, unconventional solutions. The present situation calls for pluralism of co-operative solutions and for a diversity of forms, types and methods of operation. New types of co-operative organisations are emerging, which are referred to as new co-operatives or alternative cooperatives. They usually are formed outside the traditional structures of co-operative movement and they apply simplified organisational solutions. This fact attests to the vitality and considerable flexibility of the co-operative movement's organisational formula, as well as to the ability of co-operatives to adjust to the changing conditions.
A. Kozuch, Akademia Rolnicza w Krakowie, Wydzial Ekonomiczno-Rolniczy, al. A. Mickiewicza 21, 31-120 Kraków, Poland
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