As per wikipedia, A cooperative (also known as co-operative, co-op, or coop) is "an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned enterprise". Cooperatives are democratically owned by their members, with each member having one vote in electing the board of directors.
Basically, co-operative is a type of management structure for an organization and is different from other structures like company, partnership, trust etc. Fundamental difference between cooperative and other structures are:
There are various kind of cooperatives. Example of cooperatives are:
Cooperative housing society is an association formed by the owners of flats / apartments/ property in a locality with common interests and most with shared infrastructure. The objective of forming the cooperative is to better manage the property of the society and ensure all member interests are taken care off. Generally, each member will have only one voting right even if the sizes of apartments are different. In few housing societies, if a member owns more than one apartment, he is given proportional voting rights. It depends on the by-laws; however, basic principle is that all members are equal.
Generally, housing society association prefer cooperative housing society structure. However, there are housing societies which operate in company of other structures. To know more about eVoting in housing societies, click here
Cooperative banks are very common in various parts of the world including India. Cooperative banks are quite prevalent in states like Maharashtra. Generally, farmers, fishermen, or other specific sections of the society come together to set up such cooperative banks with the objective to provide loan and other banking products to its members. Origin of such cooperatives are generally due to hardships faced by a section of society to get the banking services. Farmers and other poor section of the society found it hard to get loans from the regular banking channels and hence they formed their own banks by pooling their resources.
In banking cooperatives also each member is treated equally voting rights are not based on the amount contributed by each member. Each member is provided savings account and deposit accounts facility to store and invest their savings. They are also provided loan and other banking products on priority based on their membership. Most of these cooperative banks provide service to non-members also like any other bank. However, the objective of the cooperative bank is to ensure that first it's members should get the banking services.
Online voting in cooperative banks are very helpful as members are not present in the same geographical location and online voting makes the process efficient, convenient and transparent.
Employees in an organization can form unions or associations to protect their common interest. In such cooperative of employees all employees have equal say, and their voting right does not depend on level of designation of the employee. Each employee gets one vote to elect the management of the cooperative. The objective of such employee cooperatives is to protect the interest of the employees and also to negotiate better for salary and other facilities with the company owners. To know more about online voting in employee cooperatives or employee unions, click here
Students in a school or college can also form a cooperative to manage certain shared services like canteen facility, mess facility, bus facility etc. In schools, parents form Parents Teachers Association (PTA) with the objective of proper communication and coordination between school management and parents and for organizing and managing various school events.
In colleges there are various student cooperatives including student cooperative, hostel cooperative, department cooperative, teachers' cooperative, alumni cooperative. All these are association of members with common interest and generally structured in a form of a cooperative society. To know more about student eVoting, click here
All business and profession form an association to protect their interest and to serve the interest of their members better. There are farmers' cooperatives society, fishermen's cooperative, doctors' cooperative, taxi drivers' cooperative, cooperative of pharmacist, cooperative of truck drivers, cooperatives of builders etc.
Again, cooperative is just an organization structure where all members get an equal voting right. These are all association of persons with common interest and goals. To know more about eVoting in associations, click here.
Few people can come together to build and operate a club or a gymkhana with the objective of providing sport infrastructure and other social infrastructure to its members. Such organization generally do not have any profit objective and the main objective is to ensure that such facility is available to all the members who are coming together to build such facilities or for residents of specific location. Here again, all members have equal rights and equal say in the management of the club. To know more about online voting in clubs and gymkhanas, click here.
Another popular type of cooperative is sourcing cooperatives. Certain sections of the society, like farmers, can form a cooperative to source and negotiate better rates with sellers of specific goods or services i.e., fertilizers and seeds. Forming cooperative helps in increasing order size and negotiate better rates with the suppliers. Suppliers are generally willing to offer special discounts and credit to such cooperatives due to economy of scale.
At times, retailers of a particular product or service forms a cooperative to be able to source goods at whole seller rates from suppliers.
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