Co-opt 101

In order to discover the meaning of the term co- opt, we are going to know its etymological origin. In this case, we can state that it derives from Latin, exactly from the verb “cooptare” which can be translated as “to choose by associating” and that it is the result of the sum of the prefix “co-” and the verb “optare”.

It is a verb that refers to filling the vacancies that are generated in an institution or entity through a vote or an internal decision. This type of selection, therefore, dispenses with external judgment and bets on the nomination made by current members.

According to, co-opting is the process that consists of filling a vacancy with the members of an entity, regardless of external elements.

Co-opt, a kind of selection

When an organization decides to co-opt, it gains autonomy since within its own heart it is defined who will be those who occupy the available positions. This situation, however, can lead to certain drawbacks, such as the lack of innovation or the impossibility of opening.

An example of cooptation can be found in the army of numerous countries. Generally, officer promotions are decreed by other officers of higher grade. By co-opting in this way, there is no outside interference: no one outside the military determines who gets promoted.

The idea of co-opting appears in the realm of religion.

The concept in religion and elsewhere

Catholic priests are also appointed by co-option, since the appointment is made by other religious of that creed. An atheist or a Jew, to cite two cases, do not have the possibility of appointing a priest of the Catholic Church.

Inheritance law, lottery, and voting by electors are different systems that do not involve co-opting. When a person inherits a position, cooptation does not take place, but rather the position in question simply corresponds to him because of his condition. In a lottery, the selection falls on chance and not on the internal decision of the institution. If voters outside the corporation vote, finally, there is no co-optation either.

Advantages of co-opting

It is important to establish that there are several advantages and disadvantages that exist when co-opting within a company or entity. Specifically, among the most significant aspects in favor we can highlight some such as the following:

-That the company can choose for itself who will occupy certain positions within it to achieve the objectives set. It is a way of giving those positions to people who are known to be sufficiently trained to perform them without problems.
-In the same way, we cannot ignore the fact that another aspect in favor of co-opting is that the aforementioned companies gain in independence and autonomy.

Disadvantages of the practice

On the other hand, as far as disadvantages are concerned, some stand out like these:

-It can lead to people being elected to positions who are not going to bet on the future of the company as they may be too conservative.
-In the same way, it is possible that relevant positions will be given to people who, more than because of their abilities, occupy them because they have been in the company for many years and it is considered that they “should” be compensated for their career in it.


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