The genesis of this book dates back a number of years to an annual meeting of the American Institute of Cooperation. Cooperative leaders at that meeting openly expressed their feelings that they would like a much stronger commitment on the part of our land grant universities in particular and other educational institutions in general to creating a greater understanding of cooperatives and their role in our economy. Since I was in agreement with this position, the course in general group action which I was teaching was changed to emphasize the role of agricultural cooperatives. The need for a textbook designed to help in this emphasis became apparent. This book is the culmination of an effort to meet that need. This book has been prepared with the student and instructor in mind. It is based upon experience gained from many years of interaction with students in a classroom setting, in discussions with them after class hours, and after they had finished their degree requirements and had taken positions in jndustry, government, or elsewhere. While objectives of the book have remained relatively unchanged over time, the sub stance and format as means of meeting those objectives have changed from time to time as a result of these contacts and discussions. The input xiv Preface xv of students over the years as reflected in this product is gratefully acknowledged.