Cooperation is an associative and basic process of social life. Society cannot exist without this. It is the very basis of social existence. It is one of the continuous social processes. The term ‘Co-operation’ is derived from the two Latin words ‘Co’ meaning together and ‘Operari’ meaning to work. Literally, Cooperation means ‘joint work’ or ‘working’ together’ for a common goal’.
Cooperation is important because it allows people and groups to work together to achieve a common goal or derive mutual benefits. Cooperation exists at many levels and takes place between individuals and organizations as well as between states and countries. Cooperation allows participants to exchange valuable information that helps both sides improve their knowledge bases and work in a time- and resource-efficient manner.
Merrill and Hdredge say, ‘Co-operation is a form of social interaction wherein two or more persons work together to gain a common end.’
According to Fairchild “Co-operation is the process by which the individuals or groups combine their effort, in a more or less organized way for the attainment of common ‘objective’.
From the above definitions, two characteristics of co-operation become clear. They are:
– Organized effort;
– Common end
There is a difference of opinion among the sociologists regarding the types of co-operation. Mac Iver and Page speak of two types of co-operation. They are:
a). Direct co-operation
b). Indirect co-operation
a). Direct Co-operation:
Direct co-operation implies a direct relationship among individuals. In this type of co-operation, people do things together. In other words, when people directly co-operate with each other for the achievement of a common goal it is called direct co-operation. Playing together, working together, worshiping together, plowing the field together, traveling together and so on are some of the examples of direct co-operation.
b). Indirect Co-operation:
Indirect co-operation is just, the opposite of direct co-operation. In indirect co-operation, people do different tasks towards a similar end. In other words, in this type of co-operation people work individually for the attainment of a common goal and this is based on the principle of division of labor and specialization of functions. For example, in a college, the principal, lecturers, office assistants, accountant, typist, librarian, and dispatcher perform different functions but they make a co-operative effort towards a common goal.
A.W. Green has divided co-operation into three types such as
a). Primary, Co-operation
b). Secondary Co-operation
c). Tertiary Co-operation
a). Primary Co-operation:
Primary co-operation is generally found in the primary group, children’s playgroup and so on. Primary co-operation is the type of co-operation in which there is no selfish interest. Every member works for the betterment of all. Thus primary relation leads to primary co-operation,
b). Secondary Co-operation:
Secondary co-operation is the type of co-operation in which an individual co-operates with others for the achievement of some selfish interests. Secondary cooperation is the characteristic of modern industrial society, which is mostly found in secondary groups such as social, economic, religious and political groups where work is based on a division of labor and specialization of functions. Secondary co-operation does not provide equal benefits to all the members. Each may work in co-operation with others for his own status, power, and prestige.
c). Tertiary Co-operation:
In tertiary co-operation, different groups make a mutual adjustment with each other under certain compelling circumstances. Tertiary co-operation is purely voluntary in nature. People or groups co-operate with each other according to their sweet will. The attitudes of the co-operating parties or groups in the field of tertiary co-operation are very opportunistic and selfish. For instance, when two political parties of different ideologies are co-operative together to defeat their rival party in an election, it is known as tertiary co-operation.
Cooperation vs. collaboration
Collaboration and cooperation are words in the English language that have very similar meanings.
Collaboration happens around some kind of plan or structure, while cooperation presumes the freedom of individuals to join and participate. Cooperation is a driver of creativity. Stephen Downes commented on the differences:
“Collaboration means ‘working together’. That’s why you see it in market economies. markets are based on quantity and mass.
Cooperation means ’sharing’. That’s why you see it in networks. In networks, the nature of the connection is important; it is not simply about quantity and mass …”
Both collaborative behaviors (working together for a common goal) and cooperative behaviors (sharing freely without any quid pro quo) are needed in the training environment.
What is Collaboration?
Collaboration is working together to solve a problem or to achieve a goal. Collaboration takes place between individuals, organizations, and even governments to tackle shared goals and objectives. Sharing of knowledge, expertise, and manual labor may be required in any collaborative venture or endeavor. If a team of scientists is working on a project such as the one that took place at CERN to understand how our universe came into being, we term it as a collaborative endeavor. When two countries decide to partner to achieve a shared goal such as fighting terrorism, it is indeed collaboration. Interpol, the international policing organization, is one such organization that exists and operates because of the collaboration of the member countries.
What is Cooperation?
Cooperation is a word that refers to a process of working in unison, to achieve an objective, rather than to work independently to compete with each other. We all know about cooperatives where people pool together resources to have a working system. At the social level, a family is the smallest yet most powerful example of cooperation where a man and a woman come together to live with each other and share the workload to start the family. The roles and duties get divided between the man and the woman, and they perform their tasks with the active cooperation of the other. Though times have changed and so have the perceptions of the roles of a man and a woman in a family, there was a time when a man was supposed to look after the material needs and the woman look after the household chores such as cooking and feeding the children.
What is the difference between Collaboration and Cooperation?
- Collaboration is similar to cooperation but takes it to a higher level with active participation of all the members in collaboration.
- When different people or organizations come together to achieve a certain objective, they adopt a shared strategy shelving their individual approaches. This is what is involved in the collaboration. On the other hand, pooling together of resources and doing one’s bit for a shared cause is what characterizes cooperation.
- Cooperation is the opposite of standing alone or competing, but collaboration is active participation in a shared endeavor.
- There is a more formal approach in collaboration than cooperation.
- In a family, the roles of a man and a woman are clearly defined, and they cooperate, to raise a family without any written rules and regulations. This is a classic example of cooperation.
- Collaboration is said to be taking place when scientists of many countries come together to find the cure of an endemic.
- Law enforcing authorities of several countries coming together to catch a terrorist is another example of collaboration.
The role of cooperation
Co-operation is so important in human life that it is difficult for a man to survive without it. Cooperation is the foundation on which our social life is built up. Without the active co-operation of fellow beings, a man cannot lead a happy and comfortable life. In a family without the active co-operation of wife, a man cannot lead a happy conjugal life; Man cannot fulfill his basic needs like food, clothing, and shelter without co-operation. Progress in science, technology, art, literature depends upon cooperation. Co-operation brings all-round development of individuals as well as of society. Without this, the very existence of human society is impossible.
- Cooperation Means Working Together … For Everyone’s Benefit.
In other words, no one has to lose for you to win. And yet this is the case in many teams, groups and/or organizations. There is more strife within the organization and amongst the members than there is from the outside. That is NEVER a sign of healthy teamwork. In a healthy team, you realize that everything is connected. Success depends on your ability to create interpersonal partnerships where everyone takes responsibility for positive results.
- Cooperation Also Means Taking Turns.
Janet Stetson of Conneautville, Pennsylvania wrote, “The two most important ingredients to get along in this world are two things that you learned on the playground — sharing and taking turns.”
Effective teams take time to take turns — to learn from each other. Ineffective teams are too “busy” for that “touchy-feely stuff.” After all, they have their work to do and can’t waste their time on “connecting” with other team members. It’s a BIG mistake.
- Cooperation Means Helping Each Other Out.
In other words, in healthy teams, you don’t hear such comments as “That’s not my job… That’s her responsibility… or… I just work here.” You hear comments along the lines of “Yes, I’d be glad to help you… What can I do for you?… and… Is there anything else that you need?” There is an actual helping of one another rather than a passing of the buck.
Every great achievement came as a result of people helping people.
Without cooperation, it is hard to imagine the world surviving, as nations today are dependent upon each other for most of their resource requirements. We see how the countries of the world cooperate whenever there is an epidemic or endemic or when a calamity or natural disaster is striking in one place.
Why did I choose this tool?
Cooperation is one of the most widely taught skills. At an early age, we are taught “united we stand, divided we fall.” Cooperation means working together to achieve a common goal. In the training environment, this means a healthy environment in which participants work side by side to achieve both personal and organizational objectives. They must work with others, instead of against each other, to be productive.
From the perspective of a trainer, the cooperation is not only between the trainers and the participants or between the participants themselves, but also between trainers with other trainers, organizations, coordinators, and everyone related to the training course.
The concept of cooperation is one of the most important concepts in training that reflect social cohesion. Each member of the group complements the other which reflects the importance of this social value and the importance of cooperation in the training.
Suggested Reflection Questions
Other Ways to Practice
The following are the recommended strategies a supervisor can utilize to support a participants` competency development.
- Model appropriate behavior by enlisting everyone’s active participation.
- Recognize and reward those behaviors that contribute to teamwork.
- Provide constructive feedback to each participant on his or her behavior and how it contributes to or hinders teamwork.
- Help the participant gets onto a team led by a skilled team leader.
- Recommend participants to lead a project and provide coaching.
- Be available to discuss what is happening on his/her team and provide suggestions and/or feedback.
- Model appropriate behavior by encouraging discussion in department meetings and productively managing conflict in the work unit.
- Incorporate more team building activities.
Example 1 – Airplane Game
You need a blindfold for this game.
To play the Airplane Game, select one participant from your group to be the airplane, one to be the navigator, and the rest of the participants are the trees. In a small designated area (the runway) have the trees spread out and take root (they can not move). The airplane is blindfolded and the navigator gives clear step by step directions to get the airplane across the runway without crashing into a tree. The navigator can give only one direction at a time.
Example 2 – cups and rubber band (with no talking between the participants of the group
You will need rubber bands and plastic cups for each group. The groups should be formed by 4 or 5 participants. Each group should get 6 plastic cups and rubber band that is tied like this (the center hole should be the diameter of the plastic cup)
Step 1 – Participants will need to start from a structure that looks like this
Step 2 – as a team, they need to move the cups from this structure to a pyramid
Step 3 – The pyramid should be three cups at the bottom, then two cups, then one cup at the top