The aim of the research is to find relationships that explain co-operative housing
institutions through understanding the institution, management board and their decision
making preferences. In the process of achieving the explanatory relationship, an
analysis and overview of co-operative housing institutions is conducted with reference
to the individual board member’s understanding of the institution. Individuals are
reviewed in context of their contractual relationship within the management structure
using a principal-agent continuum conceptualized from agency theory. Individual board
members are subsequently required to make a practical decision based on their now
defined understanding of the co-operative institutional context. This decision records
individuals’ degree of self-interest behaviour as opposed to the institutional interest and
individuals’ responsibility of equitable distribution of common pooled resources.
Significant relationships were found to explain the degree of self-interest portrayed by
board members for the cooperative institution and a relationship construct was devised
to illustrate the various aspects. Recommendations were made to reduce the degree of
self-interest behaviour that board members portray in favour of behaviour that is within
the best interest of the institution.