A cooperative association is an organization of firms which is controlled by those who use it and is operated for their mutual benefit as patrons. The cooperative association operates under different principles than does a proprietary corporation. The proprietary corporation is normally assumed to have the objective of maximizing profits while the cooperative firm is assumed to have the objective of maximizing the benefit it derives for it*s member patrons.
Van Sickle, John J., "A Questionnaire For Sampling Price, Production, And Finance Information In Farm Supply And Marketing Cooperatives" (1980). Economic Staff Paper Series. 79.