To read this content please select one of the options below:

Intercultural transfer over the Atlantic in early 20th century – How the European cooperative banking system travelled to Quebec: the case of Desjardins Group

Christoph Barmeyer (Chair of Intercultural Communication, University of Passau, Passau, Germany)
Tobi Rodrigue (Department of Management, Université du Québec à Montréal, Montréal, Canada)

Journal of Management History

ISSN: 1751-1348

Article publication date: 15 January 2024




This paper aims to study historical intercultural transfer by examining the case of the Mouvement Desjardins, a Quebec, Canada-based cooperative bank founded in 1900 by Alphonse Desjardins. The aim of the cooperative was to support the hitherto marginalized French–Canadian population and to initiate their economic and entrepreneurial activities.


The authors focus on a historical single-case analysis. This conducts them to analyse primary data from letters exchanged between Alphonse Desjardins and European actors, as well as company documents of the Groupe Desjardins.


The intercultural transfer of the cooperative bank model and its implementation in North America as a successful, self-sustaining model is owing to recontextualization and strategic decisions of the social entrepreneur Alphonse Desjardins based on intensive written correspondence with European bank directors who promoted the cooperative system.

Research limitations/implications

This research instigates an impulse to extend our knowledge of intercultural transfer by looking into other historical cases to provide validation or add subtleties to our understanding of intercultural transfer dynamics.


This paper expands the current understanding of intercultural transfer and its powerful influence, namely, how an implemented cooperative bank system can contribute through successful recontextualization to institutional change and societal improvements. It also provides new insights into the creation and growth of social enterprises based on shared values within communities and coordinated strategic intentions across communities.



The authors wish to thank the Alphonse Desjardins Historical Society for generously given them access to the archives and the supporting exchanges throughout this research project. They also wish to thank the anonymous reviewers for their constructive and encouraging remarks that helped to improve their article for its current publication.


Barmeyer, C. and Rodrigue, T. (2024), "Intercultural transfer over the Atlantic in early 20th century – How the European cooperative banking system travelled to Quebec: the case of Desjardins Group", Journal of Management History, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2024, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles