The Co-operative Society is yet another form of business organisation. It is formed in a similar manner like a Joint Stock Company. It is a unique form of organisation. It is started with the motive of organising and rendering services to its members.

The first ever Co-operative movement was started by ROBERT OWEN in the year 1844, with 28 members called as ROCHDALE Society of Equitable Pioneers. It was a consumer’s Co-operative Society.


The Word ‘Co-operation’ is derived from the Latin word ‘Co-operative’ meaning “to work with”. It has been defined in various ways.


1. Calvert:

“Co-operation is a form of organisation wherein the persons voluntarily associate together as human being on a basis of equality for the promotion of economic interests of themselves”.

2. Talmaki:

“It is an association of the weak who gather together for a common economic need and try to lift themselves from weakness into strength through business orgasnisation”.


3. Sir Horace Plukelt:

“Co-operation is self-help rendered effective by organisation. It is better farming, better business, better living”.

4. International Labour Officer:

“An association of persons, usually of limited means, who have voluntarily joined together, to achieve a common economic end, through the formation of a democratically controlled business organisation, making equitable contributions to the capital required and accepting a fair share of risks and benefits of the undertaking.”


5. Dr. T.V. Raju:

“Co-operative Society is a voluntary organisation of various individuals, who belong to economically weaker sections of the community, join together on the basis of equality of control and equity of distribution of profits for the satisfaction of their common needs”.

From these above mentioned definitions the characteristic features of a Co-operative Organisation can be brought out.