Coopetition outside the market economy: Oxfordshire’s community food initiatives as a case study

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Organisations often engage simultaneously in cooperation and competition. This has been termed coopetition. Previous research has treated coopetition as a feature of the market economy, situating the research primarily in the corporate and management literature. This paper provides an alternative snapshot of coopetition in a non-market economy – within Community Food Initiatives (CFIs) – and explores its impact on the community’s resilience. Although externally, CFIs may appear entirely cooperative, data collected between 2019 and 2021 in Oxfordshire shows simultaneous cooperation and competition across a network of CFI actors. Applying the concept of coopetition to non-market economies extends our current knowledge and illuminates how the interplay between competition and cooperation informs decisions and relationships. This paper explores the role of coopetition between CFIs in relation to the community’s resilience, or the ability of communities to adapt and maintain functionality during environmental, economic, social, or political challenges. It re-visualises Bengtsson and Kock's (2000) framework on coopetative typologies, creating a framework for dynamic coopetative relationships between CFI actors. It then outlines six 'insights' – the results of the work – and adds detail to the typology framework. It finds that, while competitive firms may consider equal relationships to be resilient, CFIs' ‘comfort zone’ is between cooperative-dominant and equal relationships, and that extremes in either direction can negatively impact CFI resilience if they are prolonged. It also highlights potential strategies for practitioners and supporters to improve CFI resilience, and suggests extending research to other non-market economy sectors to continue fleshing out coopetition research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-79
Number of pages19
JournalLocal Economy
Issue number1
Early online date14 Jul 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Jul 2023

Bibliographical note

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License ( which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (


The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This work was supported by Sankalpa.


  • Competition
  • Cooperation
  • Coopetition
  • Community food initiatives
  • Resilience
  • community resilience


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