Difference Between Private sector and Cooperative Sector

Difference Between Private sector and Cooperative Sector

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Chanchal Aggarwal
Senior Executive Content
Updated on Feb 9, 2024 15:17 IST

The private and cooperative sectors differ significantly in ownership and governance models. The private sector consists of businesses owned by individuals or companies aiming to generate profits. In contrast, the cooperative sector comprises enterprises collectively owned and controlled by members who share in the benefits and responsibilities. Let’s explore!


In any economy, the sectors are pivotal in driving growth and prosperity. Two such significant sectors are the private sector and the cooperative sector. Both have their distinct characteristics, objectives, and methods of operation. In this blog, we will explore the differences between these two sectors, exploring their roles in economic development and providing relevant examples to enhance understanding.

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Table of Content

Comparative Table: Private Sector and Cooperative Sector

Aspect Private Sector Cooperative Sector
Ownership and Control Privately owned and controlled by individuals or corporations Owned and controlled by a group of members who collectively make decisions
Profit Motive Maximizing profits for owners/shareholders Focus on meeting the needs of members and the community
Decision-making Centralized decision-making by owners or management Democratic decision-making by members, with one member, one vote
Capital Private capital investment and funding Member contributions and community support
Management Structure Hierarchical structure with professional managers Flat structure with member-elected management
Employment Employees work for salaries and benefits provided by the company Members work collectively and benefit from profits and dividends
Risk and Liability Owners bear the risk and are liable for losses Members collectively share the risks and liabilities
Competition Focus on competition and market share Collaboration among cooperatives and mutual support
Social Responsibility Variable emphasis on social responsibility Focus on community development and sustainability
Dividend Distribution Profits distributed to shareholders as dividends Profits allocated to members based on their contributions or patronage
Governance Governed by the board of directors and executive management Governed by members through democratic decision-making processes
Sector Examples Microsoft, Google, Walmart REI (Recreational Equipment Inc.), Mondragon
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What is Private Sector?

The private sector comprises privately owned businesses or companies operated for profit-making purposes. These enterprises are typically owned and controlled by individuals or groups of shareholders. They operate independently and aim to maximize their profits and shareholders’ wealth. Market forces drive private sector companies and compete with other businesses for market share and profitability.

Private companies range from small-scale enterprises to multinational corporations. Examples of private sector companies include Apple, Microsoft, Google, Coca-Cola, and Walmart. These entities invest their capital, hire employees, and produce goods or services for sale in the market. They contribute significantly to job creation, innovation, and economic growth.

While the private sector has great job opportunities, there are umpteen opportunities when you take government job oriented courses after 10th. At the same time, you have government certifications online that valued in lots of private industries. 

What is Cooperative Sector?

On the other hand, the cooperative sector consists of organizations formed by individuals with shared interests or goals who come together voluntarily to address their common needs. Unlike private sector entities, cooperative enterprises are owned and democratically governed by their members, who often consist of employees, consumers, or producers.

Cooperatives operate based on principles such as voluntary membership, democratic control, member participation, and equitable distribution of benefits. These organizations aim to meet their members’ social, economic, and cultural needs rather than maximizing profits. Cooperative businesses exist in various sectors, including agriculture, housing, banking, retail, and utilities.

What is the difference Between Private and Cooperative Sector?

Ownership: The private sector is owned by individuals or shareholders, whereas the cooperative sector is collectively owned by its members.
Primary Objective: The private sector maximizes profits, while the cooperative sector aims for member welfare and community benefits.
Profit Distribution: In the private sector, profits go to shareholders based on investment; in cooperatives, profits are distributed among members based on their participation or usage.
Decision-Making: Decision-making in the private sector is often centralized, while cooperatives operate on democratic principles with equal voting rights for all members.
Access to Capital: Private sector entities have broader access to capital markets, whereas cooperatives rely more on member contributions and limited external sources.
Scope and Scale: The private sector can range from small businesses to global corporations, while cooperatives are typically more community-focused and localized.
Regulatory Environment: The private sector is regulated under standard business laws, whereas specific cooperative laws and principles also govern the cooperative sector.


Understanding the distinction between the private and cooperative sectors is essential for comprehending the dynamics of economic development. While the private sector focuses on profit maximization and operates under private ownership, the cooperative sector emphasizes democratic governance and meeting members’ needs. Both sectors uniquely contribute to economic growth, job creation, and social well-being.

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What is the main difference between the private sector and cooperative sector?

The main difference lies in ownership and control. The private sector is privately owned by individuals or corporations, while the cooperative sector is collectively owned and controlled by a group of members who make decisions democratically.

How does ownership differ in the private sector and cooperative sector?

In the private sector, ownership rests with individuals or corporations. In contrast, the cooperative sector is owned collectively by its members, with each member having an equal say in decision-making.

What is the primary motive of the private sector compared to the cooperative sector?

The private sector is primarily driven by profit motives, aiming to maximize returns for owners or shareholders. Conversely, the cooperative sector focuses on meeting the needs of its members and the community, with profit generation seen as a secondary objective.

About the Author
Chanchal Aggarwal
Senior Executive Content

Chanchal is a creative and enthusiastic content creator who enjoys writing research-driven, audience-specific and engaging content. Her curiosity for learning and exploring makes her a suitable writer for a variety ... Read Full Bio