Phenomena of coherent resonant propagation can be considered as resulting from the cooperative interaction of a certain number of excited two-level systems. It is shown that these phenomena can be characterized by a specific "maximum cooperation number" and by the associated "cooperation time." These are defined for the superradiant state, but their meaning and usefulness can be extended to other situations. The alternative description of of superradiance as a spontaneous or as a stimulated effect is also discussed and it is shown that with the help of the new concepts, the Dicke quantum perturbative treatment can be reconciled with the semiclassical theories. © 1970 The American Physical Society.