In a cooperative, all of us are responsible for everything.
J. M. Arizmendiarieta. Reflections. p.63

Examples of isomorphism


When you read the Gospels, the simple lifestyle of the first Christian communities seems so distant from the pompous celebrations of the contemporary world. Starting from the Middle Ages, the Church became isomorphic to kingdoms and the hierarchy and language is rooted in mediaeval vision of royalty.


Academic freedom and independence in the pursuit of knowledge and education were the hallmarks of early

universities. When the pursuit of knowledge turned out more and more costly, the universities became more dependent on state funds, private donations or other sources of finance including tuition. They became isomorphic to all other service institutions; the truth and knowledge have to be compromised for the sake of stakeholder satisfaction.


Hospitals started as institutions that were meant to provide assistance and shelter to the people in need, not necessary ill. The growing cost of their services associated with the developments in medicine and their unique services increased the costs and made them less accessible for the public. It caused development of a variety of insurance programmes that in turn dictate their business models. As a result hospitals are isomorphic to all other commercial service institutions, which try to satisfy stakeholders who are in evident conflict of interests.

Non-Profit Organisations

Welfare state is no longer able to fulfil its promises to society. In what is called social economy, the charity organisations of the past are to play the role played by the state institutions in the past. In this way, the non-profit organisations have a secure source of financing their activity, but they pay for it with institutionalisation that often goes against the spirit and values of their founders. They become isomorphic to bureaucratic institutions.


These are just a few examples of isomorphism. I wrote a separate article about isomorphism of co-operatives.