Small firm cooperative constructs: Addressing industry power relationships

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11 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to examine the Irish community pharmacy sector in the context of power relationship theory. Specifically, the paper analyses the relationship between dispensary software vendors and the independent community pharmacist; and explore dominant industry partners' influence on individual pharmacies in terms of technology adoption. The core objective is to ascertain whether the potential for a cooperative construct can be realised in this milieu. Design/methodology/approach - A comprehensive literature review precedes a full investigation and analysis of the Irish community pharmacy sector's competitive environment, in the context of the pre-mentioned power relationship theory. Findings - This research uncovered a potential alternative to the industry's existing power imbalance in the form of a cooperative construct between a team of independent community pharmacists and an employed software vendor. The purpose of this partnership was to ensure the installed software focused on the pharmacist's strategic needs rather than those of the dominant partners. The paper goes on to discuss the failure of this partnership in the context of independent pharmacist's future competitive survival. Research limitations/implications - Data collection was limited to the community pharmacy sector in the Republic of Ireland. Therefore, care should be taken in making generalisations from this study. Practical implications - In the absence of cooperative constructs, power relationship imbalances will continue to exist in this competitive environment, to the detriment of the small firm. Originality/value - Little research has been completed in the area of small business cooperative constructs as a means of competing successfully in a power relationship scenario. This paper goes some way to redressing this.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)501-513
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Small Business and Enterprise Development
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • Co-operative organizations
  • Ireland
  • Pharmacology
  • Small enterprises


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