Pub. date: 2007 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952613 | Print ISBN: 9781412905794 | Online ISBN: 9781412952613| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Cooperation is the capacity to work or act with others for mutual benefit. It should not be viewed simply as the absence of conflict or the alternative to competition, but rather the product of a conscious decision by two or more actors to alter their behavior based on others' preferences,. Cooperation therefore entails a process of negotiation between two or more parties and is generally held by political science to be a desirable aspect of the human condition. However, the propensity for two or more actors to cooperate, rather than conflict or compete with one another, tends to depend upon their calculation of the relative costs and benefits to be derived from cooperation when compared with the dividend from alternative courses of action. The motivation for cooperation remains essentially contested, with the debate focused upon the nature of the necessary or sufficient political or institutional prerequisites for cooperation to emerge ...