Research on ICAs

The knowledge gained over the years by the Social Enterprise and Institutions for Collective Action research group comes together in the so-called SICADE model. This is a graphic representation of three dimensions that play a role in the resilient development of citizen collectives. The model also shows three underlying principles. Interested? Then read on!

Resilience is at the heart of the model. This is the ability of a collective to develop in an active and balanced way. Resilience is needed as long as a collective wants to keep pursuing its goals, be it healthcare, sustainable agriculture or green energy.

To be resilient, three elements need to be in balance. These are the three spheres in the diagram: the collective of members, the collective of resources, organisation & governance. In practice, these elements in a collective can change all the time. Therefore, it is important that the other elements change with them, so that a new balance is created.

At the interface between the spheres are the three success factors that help collectives find their balance.

  • Members must see the need of the products and services offered. If the need becomes less urgent for collective participants, their enthusiasm to participate decreases. As a result, their involvement drops and they may drop out.
  • Social equity among members is the basis for a successful organisation and long-term governability. When different members are treated differently, it can lead to conflict or a growing distance between the board and a group of members.
  • Efficiency is the efficient and effective use of resources to achieve the goals of the collective. When members feel that their contributions are not being used efficiently their commitment decreases and they may even consider no longer participating.

Of course, there are also external factors that affect the collective. Consider, for instance, time and place, weather and climate, legislation, demographics and technical facilities. All these factors combined ensure that collectives must constantly adapt, always looking for a new balance.

De Moor, T., (2021). Three waves of cooperation. A millennium of institutions for collective action in historical perspective (Case-study: The Netherlands). In: Oxford Handbook on International Economic Governance, eds E. Brousseau and I. Bellaci. Oxford University Press.