Cooperation as a form of organization exhibits certain essential principles. They are as follows:
Admission into a co-operative society is open in the sense that everybody independent of caste, creed or religion or any social or political affiliations can join it. There is no element of compulsion exercised on any individual to join as a member. The members who join the organisation can withdraw at any time, as and when they like.
The cooperatives are organized and managed on the basis of the principle of democracy. Each member is given the right to vote irrespective of the magnitude of his share capital. “One man and one vote” is the guiding principle of co-operation. All decisions are taken on democratic lines and principles. No decision can be forced on any member.
In business organizations, the primary motive is to increase profits. But the co-operative form of organization fulfils the social and economic needs of the people with minimum marginal profit and maximum service.
A cooperative society inherently denies exploitation of its members. Through the society the mutual economic benefits of the members are safeguarded.
Self help through mutual aid’ is another important feature of a co-operative society. All the members try to help each other and at the same time work together for the pursuit of a common objective. Each member feels elevated when he works for himself and for others and accomplishes the task allotted to him without any help from any outside agency.
A co-operative organization is characterized by the principle of political and religious neutrality. The members of co-operatives continuously work for the growth of the society with harmony and integration setting aside political and religious differences.
The success of a co-operative organization depends upon the efficiency of its members. Cooperatives impart education to members and training to office bearers and executives for fulfilling this objective.
The co-operatives aim at inculcating the habit of thrift among their members. Thrift and service constitute part and parcel of co-operation.
The co-operatives make all possible efforts to teach their members about the society. Further, they make public all their dealings with the members and with the public.
The main thrust of a co-operative society is common welfare. The people acting through cooperatives develop a spirit of serving others. Self interest is sacrificed at the altar of collective interest.
Truly speaking, the co-operative society is not autonomous so far as its functioning is concerned. Sometimes the government plays its role in providing assistance to the peasants. Through R.B.I, and other nationalised banks, it makes provisions for the working of cooperative societies and cooperative banks.