This article explains what is Co-Operation in Sociology, the characteristics of co-operation, types of co-operation, and the role of Co-operation.

What is Co-Operation in Sociology?

There are many scholars who define the meaning and definitions of co-operation in sociology. Some of the prominent meaning and definition of co-operation are:

According to A.W. Green, “Co-operation is the continuous and common endeavor of two or more persons to perform a task or to reach a goal, i.e. commonly cherished.”

Áccording to Merril and Edregde, “Co-operation is a form of social interaction, wherein, two or more persons work together to gain a common end.”

In the words of Fair Child, “Co-operation is the process by which the individuals or group combine their effort in a more or less organized way for the attainment of common objectives.”

Characteristics of Co-operation in Sociology

1. Co-operation is a continuous process.

2. Co-operation is the interaction between an individual and a group of individuals.

3. It includes common endeavors.

4. Further, it is the attainment of a definite goal or common objectives.

5. The goals set in co-operation are commonly cherished by all.

6. Individuals work together when they co-operate whereby fostering-love for one another, respect, universal brotherhood, etc.

7. Co-operation is fundamental in order to lead a social life.

8. It is the performance of different tasks by different individuals with a common aim.

9. It is the basis of peace and security in society.

 Types of Co-operation

There are different types of co-operation. Various scholars explain the types of co-operation in their own views. Some of the most notable types of co-operation are:

Types of co-operation – Maciver & Page

Maciver & Page divides into Direct Co-operation and Indirect Co-operation.

Direct Co-operation

In direct co-operation, it includes all those activities in which people do like things together.

For Example, moving a pile of stones, pushing a motor car out of the mud together, playing together, worshipping together, etc. The essential character of this kind of co-operation is that people work together with the work which they can do separately.

Indirect Co-operation

Under indirect co-operation, different individuals and groups carry out different activities but their object is the same. In other words, individual works towards a common aim but each has its own specialized functions.

For example, in factories or companies, different groups of workers work in different departments for producing one particular or object. When carpenters, plumbers, and masons co-operate to build a house.

 On the other hand, Nimkoff and Ogburn have divided co-operation into 3 types:

Types of co-operation – Nimkoff and Ogburn

General Co-operation

When some people co-operate for the common goals, then there is co-operation, which is known as general co-operation.

For example, co-operation found in cultural functions is the general co-operation.

Friendly Co-operation

When we want to attain the happiness and contentment of our group, we give co-operation with each other, then this type of co=operation is known as friendly co-operation. For Example, singing, dancing, etc.

Helping Co-operation

When some people work for the victims of famine or flood, then this type of co-operation is called helping co-operation.

 Role of Co-operation

 Co-operation is the most elementary form of social process. Without which society cannot exist.

According to Kropotkin, co-operation is so important in the life of an individual that it is difficult to survive without it. Even among the lowest animals, such as ants, termites, co-operation is evident for survival.

Further, co-operation is the foundation of social life. The continuation of the human race requires the co-operation of male and female for reproduction and upbringing of children. Co-operation for human beings is both a social and psychological necessity. it is needed at every step of our life. If one does not co-operate with others, he is left to live a solitary life.

Also, the physical, mental, and even the spiritual needs of the individuals remain unsatisfied if he does not agree to co-cooperate with his fellow members. It is very difficult for a man to lead a happy conjugal life without the active co-operation of his wife and vice versa.

Co-operation helps society to progress. Progress can better be achieved through united actions. The outstanding progress in science and technology, agriculture and industry, transport, and also communication, would not have been possible without co-operation.

All the progress that mankind has made in the various fields is to be attributed to the co-operation spirit of the people. Therefore, co-operation is an urgent need of the present-day world. It is not only needed among the individuals & groups but also among the nations. It provides solutions to the problems of international problems and disputes.


Co-operation is a universal phenomenon. It is so important in the life of an individual that according to Kropotkin, it is difficult to survive without it. Mutual aid starts with co-operation in the upbringing of children, in the provision of production of food, etc.

We human beings learn our first lesson in co-operation as members of the family. Most of the individuals and collective goals cannot be achieved without co-operation. As a result, it is required in every step of our life. If one does not co-operate with others he is left to lead a solitary life.

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