Virtually all membership in Rotary is based upon a "classification."
Basically, a classification describes the distinct and recognized business or professional service that the Club member renders to society.
The principle of Rotary classification is somewhat more specific and precise. In determining the classification of a Rotarian it is necessary to look at the "principal or recognized business or professional activity of the firm, company or institution" with which an active member is connected or "that which covers his principal and recognized business or professional activity."
It should be clearly understood that classifications are determined by activities or services to society rather than by the position held by a particular individual. In other words, if a person is the president of a bank, he or she is not classified as "bank president" but under the classification "banking."
It is the principal and recognized activity of a business or professional establishment or the individual's principal and recognized business or professional activity that determines the classification to be established and loaned to a qualified person. For example, the permanently employed electrical engineer, insurance adjustor, or business manager of a railroad company, mining company, manufacturing concern, hospital, clinic, etc. may be considered for membership as a representative of the particular work he or she may be doing personally or as a representative of the firm, company or institution for which the professional service is being done.
The classification principle also permits businesses and industries to be separated into distinct functions such as manufacturing, distributing, retailing and servicing.
Classifications may also be specified as distinct and independent divisions of a large corporation or university within the club's territory. such as a school of business or a school of engineering.
The classification principle is a necessary concept in assuring that each Rotary club represents a cross section of the business and professional service of the community.