Difference Between Cooperation and Conflict in Sociology

Every individual interacts with other individuals to survive. In the beginning, the interaction is with the parent or caretaker, later on with other individuals in the society. As interaction takes place, there is cooperation, and conflicts emerge in these relationships.

Below is the information that deals with all the two aspects and points out their importance and functions and how individuals work through their conflict and cooperation to achieve their stipulated goals.

Cooperation vs Conflict in Sociology

The main difference between Cooperation and Conflict in Sociology is that Cooperation is something where two or more than two that is a group works together to accomplish a required goal or achievement. On the other hand, Conflict is said to be something when a person or individual deliberately creates such events so that the other person doesn’t reach their required goal.

Cooperation vs Conflict in Sociology

Cooperation is said to be stated as two or groups of individuals working together to attain a shared goal. It can be observed in a variety of social settings, including family life and sexual interactions.

It’s crucial to remember that cooperation doesn’t have to result in conflict-free harmony; it could simply mean that people can get along in the same environment even if they don’t agree.

Conflict is defined as a disagreement between two or more persons or groups over a topic to obtain an advantage. Conflict may arise as a result of one group possessing resources that another desires, such as food.

It can also happen when people have opposing viewpoints on a topic and are unable to reach an agreement.

Comparison Table Between Cooperation and Conflict in Sociology

Parameters of ComparisonCooperation in SociologyConflict in Sociology
DefinitionTwo or more persons cooperating to achieve a shared objectiveA purposeful activity in which one individual or group attempts to hinder the actions of another
NatureWorking togetherNot working together
Goal To accomplish a single purposeNo such thing is concerned in this case
TypesDirect and Indirect CooperationDirect and Indirect Conflict
ExampleA group of colleagues decides to embark on a journey together. The goal is for everyone in the group to have a nice time, therefore they work together to attain that goalA group of residents in an apartment complex argues about how to reduce the noise to a minimum. The tenants are at odds over a common goal: they all want to live in peace, but they have opposing viewpoints on when it is okay to make noise

What is Cooperation in Sociology?

Cooperation is defined as two or more working together to accomplish a common objective in sociology. In human life, there is a psychological as well as a social necessity for cooperative work.

Cooperation entails a shared purpose or objective as well as concerted actions. In sociology, collaboration can be divided into two categories:

Direct Cooperation 

Direct collaboration occurs when two or more persons undertake the same task together, such as ploughing a vast field or carrying cargo. This sort of collaboration is distinguished by the fact that these chores or tasks cannot be executed alone or independently.

Indirect Cooperation

Indirect cooperation occurs when people engage in different activities yet work together to achieve a common goal. Take, for example, the construction of a house: one person may work on the roof, another on the floor, and so on. These actions can also take place at various periods.

Cooperation can also be classified as primary, secondary, or tertiary. Face-to-face interaction is required for primary collaboration, which occurs in primary groups such as friends and family.

Secondary collaboration, on the other hand, occurs between groups like the government and individuals, and tertiary cooperation occurs between groups or individuals who would otherwise compete.

What is Conflict in Sociology?

Cooperation is the polar opposite of conflict. A purposeful activity in which one person attempts to hinder the efforts of another is referred to as conflict. Another example is when one group of individuals tries to impede the efforts of another group.

Conflict, like cooperation, is a fundamental element of humans and human civilization.

Conflicts typically occur when one group rejects another’s ideals and standards or strives to assert authority. Abhorrence, contempt, hatred, and animosity are common in conflicts, which can escalate to physical violence.

They can also result in direct conflict. Some confrontations, on the other hand, can result in constructive social improvements. For example, regressive social customs such as child marriage should be abolished.

The conflict has the following characteristics:  

  • Conflict isn’t the only thing that defines a culture. It is a deliberate act.
  • Members compete with one another to attain their aims.
  • Conflict is a catalyst for social change. It’s mostly a manifestation of disequilibrium.
  • It is primarily a private pastime. 
  • It can sometimes get more intense and include a large number of people. It appears at first at the level of a single group, but it eventually affects the entire community.
  • The core cause of social conflict is asymmetrical social, political, and economic ties, as well as a sense of relative deprivation.

Main Differences Between Cooperation and Conflict in Sociology

  1. In sociology, cooperation is stated as the condition where two or more two individuals that are in a group perform an activity or task to achieve a particular common goal whereas comparatively, on the other hand, in sociology, conflict is stated as the people that deliberately hinders in the work of others.
  2. The nature behind the term cooperation stands for working together whereas comparatively, on the other hand, the nature behind the term conflict is exactly opposite that is hinder others from working and not working together.
  3. The goal or the purpose of the cooperation is to acquire the common set goals, whereas comparatively, on the other hand, the goal or the purpose of any conflict is to derogate such things and only make chaos.
  4. The two different types of cooperation are Direct and Indirect Cooperation, whereas comparatively, on the other hand, the two different types of conflict known are the Direct and Indirect Conflict.
  5. An example of cooperation is – A couple who has agreed to share home responsibilities. They can better balance work and personal life and have more leisure time by cooperating, whereas comparatively, on the other hand, the example of conflict is – Two friends who are continuously arguing over one of them taking the other’s car without permission. The two friends have a shared aim in mind: they both want to be able to borrow each other’s cars, but they have opposing viewpoints on how this could be accomplished.


To summarize the given topic, this can be concluded that Cooperation occurs when two or more people work together to achieve a common goal, while conflict is a purposeful activity in which one individual or group attempts to hinder the actions of another.

In sociology, the primary distinction between cooperation and conflict is that in cooperation, people work together, whereas, in conflict, they work against one other.

Conflict is not regarded as a bad concept in sociology. It has the potential to be extremely beneficial, allowing people to address problems more creatively.

However, if the conflict becomes too intense or there are no other options for resolving the issue, bloodshed and war may result. As a result, we must find a way to resolve the conflict. Even if we find a solution to an issue, we may not always be able to avoid bloodshed.


  1. https://www.proquest.com/openview/92211c34a3aab6a4e2b9a36d5f9218de/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=1817355
  2. https://academic.oup.com/sf/article-abstract/41/2/177/2227294
  3. https://heinonline.org/HOL/LandingPage?handle=hein.journals/josf29&div=52&id=&page=
  4. https://heinonline.org/HOL/LandingPage?handle=hein.journals/rlwe4&div=7&id=&page=
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