Cooperation, Types and Characteristics of Cooperation,


Cooperation is a fundamental social interaction in which two or more individuals or social groups collaborate to ensure effective communication and achieve a common goal.

The phrase “cooperation” is defined in two Latin words: “co” (around each other) and “operation” (to perform). That means cooperation entails collaborating or working with each other to achieve a common goal or goals.



Workers cooperating with each other in Bangladesh        Source:mohammad samir

Common end and organized effort are two elements of this social process. When multiple individuals share the same goals and recognize that they cannot achieve the objectives alone, they collaborate to achieve those goals.

For example-

In a Focus group Discussion of parents’ supervisor monitoring the whole discussion. If there suddenly any chaos happens with a topic discussion supervisor may be told everyone to keep silent. That silence is necessary to make the discussion fruitful from both ends. When they become silent that means all of them are cooperating to achieve the same goal.

It is also a fact that the same goal will not always be necessary; sometimes people want to collaborate with others to achieve a goal that is not required for facilitators to help the individual.


  • Social interaction between two or more individuals or groups 
  • Individuals or groups aware of their work
  • Individuals and groups formed personal relationships and meetings
  • A continual effort by a group of people.
  • It can help achieve common goals more effectively, and it is vital for personal and social progress.

Types of Cooperation

Several sociologists classified cooperation into different categories. Ogburn and Nimikoff divided the term into three main types:

General Cooperation

When some individuals cooperate for common purposes, that interaction is known as general cooperation. We experience this in our everyday work, and it’s human nature to want to help others.

For instance-

On the weekend when a family arranged a gathering for friends and relatives, everyone works together to make this a colorful experience.

Friendly Cooperation

When we want to achieve the pleasure and fulfillment of our group, we cooperate in a helpful manner and this is called friendly cooperation.

For example- dancing or singing at a party

Helping Cooperation

This type is known as work for supporting victims who face accidents or disasters.


Maclver and Page have divided the process into two main types-

Direct Cooperation

All those related behaviors in which people accomplish things together are considered direct cooperation.

For instance- Camp together, perform together, carry a load, etc.

Cooperation 2

A family is fishing together

The important feature of this type of collaboration is that people perform identical tasks that they could perform independently. This form of collaboration is entirely voluntary.

Indirect Cooperation

This type encompasses activities in which individuals perform distinct tasks together toward a common goal.

For example- There are numerous parts to work within a motor vehicle. All of the employees work on different parts of the vehicle and then put it together to make it complete.

Primary group

Primary Group and Secondary Group

Primary Group and secondary group

Primary Group

A primary group is a small group that is recognized by intimacy, sentiment of loyalty, intensive cooperation, and emotional involvement. Cooly uses the terms “members of a family living in the same house” and “playgroup in a school” as examples to define primary groups.

Typically, it is smaller but emotionally more significant. Because the individual has the chance to become familiar with humanity and social relationship through the primary group. Human nature does not exist independently of each individual; however, it is generated in individual character by primary or fundamental societal groups. Primary groups are undoubtedly an important resource for emotional security.

Primary group

A group of children plays with their playmates in Jakarta.

Human beings develop their positive and honest qualities from their families, neighbors as well as playmates. This, in turn, leads to hatred, intolerance, and other negative emotions as a result of a lack of a group and a cordial relationship. People are gradually learning more about each other’s relationships as communication improves; hatred is reduced through the social organization, and so on. People’s emotions and awareness grow as they learn about the role of primary groups.

However, many researchers believe that with the proliferation of social media, communication with the primary group or the exchange of emotions has become more virtual, even in South Asian traditional society. But in 2019-2020, when the world became stable due to lockdown in countries due to coronavirus epidemic, people can understand the role of primary groups like family, neighbors, etc.

Secondary group

Secondary groups are more formal and impersonal in nature, with little social intimacy or mutual understanding. These groups are also larger in size. Industrial workers or office coworkers are examples of secondary groups.

Organizationally, friendly relationships do not exist among the members of the secondary group, and the level of acquaintance between the group’s members is very low. Demographically, all members of any secondary group do not share a similar emotional bond; rather, they feel isolated from the primary group. In modern society, the identity of individuals in the secondary group is fading, and a sense of isolation is emerging among them which also affect mental health.

For example- U.S. military suicide rates have peaked since war in Afghanistan at about one death a day.

People are gradually drifting away from family, friends, and neighbors for professional or educational purposes. Living in a new environment fosters a different type of social relationship but it’s nothing like a primary group relationship.

Secondary Groups

A group of students in University class

Despite the fact that these two groups are identified differently, one cannot be empirically distinguished from the other. With the examples below, we can understand this interrelation in detail-

A Bangladeshi student can come to study and fall in love with a girl in Europe. He can marry and begin a new family here. Despite his feelings of isolation from the primary group, over time he also established a new primary group in a new society from a secondary group.

Difference between Primary and Secondary Group

Primary Group Secondary Group
Examples Family, Playmate University, City, Protestor
Size Small Large
Relationship Personal Formal
Attachment Socio Emotional (Gemeinschaft) Instrumental (Gesellschaft)
Duration Long Term Short term
Decision Traditional Rational