Participation and Organization: A Social Psychological Approach

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Important Note : All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review. With their unique mixes of varied contributions from Original Research to Review Articles, Research Topics unify the most influential researchers, the latest key findings and historical advances in a hot research area! Find out more on how to host your own Frontiers Research Topic or contribute to one as an author.

Overview Articles Authors Impact Comments. About this Research Topic Health and well-being is best understood in terms of a combination of biological, psychological, and social factors.

What is EMPOWERMENT? What does EMPOWERMENT mean? EMPOWERMENT meaning, definition & explanation

I hope the ideas presented here will help us all continue to formulate the important questions that need to be asked about collective action. The extent to which institutional stakeholders participate in their own governance is one of the most fundamental dimensions of human governance. The topic of stakeholder participation figures prominently in popular and professional discourse on civic agency, political and institutional freedom, justice, and legitimacy.

Contributors from the Ostrom Workshop collaborated in creating supplementary information to assist readers with some of the technical language, basic tools, and key concepts they work with. They include the following three sections:. At its core, solidarity economics involves grassroots economic stakeholders and practitioners e. This special edition of the Grassroots Economic Organizing GEO Newsletter seeks to bring the activist practitioner perspective of solidarity economics into dialogue with the science of self-governance to explore what novel lessons may be learned about collective action.

The GEO Collective explicitly espouses a mission to "promote an economy based on democratic participation, worker community ownership, [and] social and economic justice. Clearly, the Ostrom School also regards stakeholder participation as important.

The school of thought identifies the involvement of stakeholders in institutional management as an important factor in determining whether institutions will be effective and enduring see Table 1. Specifically, it is believed that the process of participation reveals information about the actions and intentions of other economic agents. This information contributes to coordination and trust-building by reducing uncertainty about what others will do.

Sources: From E. A general framework for analyzing sustainability of social-ecological systems. Science, , And from E. Ostrom A diagnostic approach for going beyond panaceas. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 39 , According to this informational and problem-solving perspective of participation, different social-ecological situations pose different informational and technical challenges. As such, participatory approaches are thought to be best suited for some problems, while traditional non-participatory economic approaches are thought to be best suited for others.

In addition, though self-governance implies that institutional stakeholders have ownership and involvement in management of some kind, the Ostrom School does not explicitly distinguish between different categories or types of participation; it also does not base its technical concept of participation in notions of "democracy" and "social justice. In the discussion that follows, I clarify and address this apparent discrepancy between how the science of self-governance and practitioners of self-governance seem to conceptualize participation.

In doing so, I argue for a broader conceptualization of power within the Ostrom School of institutional analysis - one which grounds participation in psychological science principles of social-psychological needs and measurable dimensions of social justice. The Institutional Analysis and Development IAD Framework is a tool that helps institutional analysts within the Ostrom tradition systematically evaluate governance systems to reveal underlying sources of institutional success and failure. The IAD framework guides theorists in systematically identifying the social and ecological dimensions e.

Source: From E. Understanding Institutional Diversity, p. NJ: Princeton University Press. Reprinted with permission from Princeton University Press.


For example, in her groundbreaking work, Elinor Ostrom used the IAD framework to analyze the social and ecological factors that structure and influence enduring common-pool natural resource management institutions at the grassroots level all around the world see Table 1. It is based on this conceptual and technological advancement that the Ostrom School demonstrated that solidarity-based economies offer promising alternatives to traditional state-centered economic solutions to our world's social-ecological problems.

Despite its impressive ability to explain institutional success and failure, the IAD Framework has been criticized as not paying enough attention to specific nuances within participatory situations - problems of power related to social justice e. A clearer treatment of power and social justice may also help further connect the findings of practitioners with the scientific theories intended to explain them. Specifically, I argue that solidarity-based economies exist for reasons beyond traditionally-recognized economic considerations - namely, that stakeholders want to satisfy social-psychological needs for justice living in a "fair" world , self-determination, social belonging, and self-competence.

At the most abstract level, power can be conceptualized as the influence people have on each other to shape each others' perceptions, aspirations, and decision-making options through their own behaviors, roles, and the creation of rules and norms. Recall that in any given decision situation, actors possess certain social roles e.

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Indeed, the IAD Framework's ability to help analysts catalogue these interconnections of influence is, perhaps, its primary strength. Another way that the Ostrom School addresses power relations is in terms of the concept of self-governance.

Within the IAD framework, self-governance is seen as empowering the individual. Individuals are given the ability to participate in their own governance, and therefore have "power with" one another to determine their own fate.

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Although the IAD Framework acknowledges the role that power and participation have in a given institution i. That is, grassroots-level institutional stakeholders are treated as either self-governing or not. In particular, analysts using the IAD framework document this aspect of power in terms of whether or not "most individuals affected by a resource regime are authorized to participate in making and modifying rules" E.

Partly because of this difficulty, an alternative approach to thinking about groups, and one that has been very important in social psychology, makes use of the affective feelings that we have toward the groups that we belong to. As we have read, social identity refers to the part of the self-concept that results from our membership in social groups Hogg, Generally, because we prefer to remain in groups that we feel good about, the outcome of group membership is a positive social identity—our group memberships make us feel good about ourselves.

According to the social identity approach, a group is a group when the members experience social identity—when they define themselves in part by the group that they belong to and feel good about their group membership Hogg, This identity might be seen as a tendency on the part of the individual to talk positively about the group to others, a general enjoyment of being part of the group, and a feeling of pride that comes from group membership.

Because identity is such an important part of group membership, we may attempt to create it to make ourselves feel good, both about our group and about ourselves. Although many groups are basically static, performing the same types of tasks day in and day out, other groups are more dynamic. In fact, in almost all groups there is at least some change; members come and go, and the goals of the group may change. And even groups that have remained relatively stable for long periods of time may suddenly make dramatic changes; for instance, when they face a crisis, such as a change in task goals or the loss of a leader.

Groups may also lose their meaning and identity as they successfully meet the goals they initially set out to accomplish. One way to understand group development is to consider the potential stages that groups generally go through. One widely used approach here is the model developed by Tuckman and Jensen As you can see in Figure In other cases, however, the process of group formation occurs continually over a long period of time, such as when factory workers leave their jobs and are replaced by new employees.

This initial investigation process may end up with the individual rejecting the group or the group rejecting the individual.

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In the storming stage , members may attempt to make their own views known, expressing their independence and attempting to persuade the group to accept their ideas. In some cases, the conflict may be so strong that the group members decide that the group is not working at all and they disband. Although storming can be harmful to group functioning and thus groups must work to keep it from escalating, some conflict among group members may in fact be helpful. Groups that experience no conflict at all may be unproductive because the members are bored, uninvolved, and unmotivated, and because they do not think creatively or openly about the topics of relevance to them Tjosvold, In order to progress, the group needs to develop new ideas and approaches, and this requires that the members discuss their different opinions about the decisions that the group needs to make.

Assuming that the storming does not escalate too far, the group will move into the norming stage , which is when the appropriate norms and roles for the group are developed. Groups that have effectively reached this stage have the ability to meet goals and survive challenges. And at this point, the group becomes well tuned to its task and is able to perform the task efficiently. Despite this variability, Gersick found that each of the teams followed a very similar pattern of norming and then performing. In each case, the team established well-defined norms regarding its method of attacking its task in its very first meeting.

And each team stayed with this approach, with very little deviation, during the first half of the time it had been allotted. Then, each of the groups used this new method of performing the task during the rest of its allotted time.

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It was as if an alarm clock went off at the halfway point, which led each group to rethink its approach. In some cases, this is because the task for which the group was formed has been completed, whereas in other cases it occurs because the group members have developed new interests outside the group.

In any case, because people who have worked in a group have likely developed a strong identification with the group and the other group members, the adjournment phase is frequently stressful, and participants may resist the breakup. Faced with these situations, individuals frequently plan to get together again in the future, exchanging addresses and phone numbers, even though they may well know that it is unlikely they will actually do so. Sometimes it is useful for the group to work ahead of time to prepare members for the breakup.

Also, not all groups will necessarily pass through all stages. Bougie, E. British Journal Of Social Psychology ,50 4 , Campbell, D. Common fate, similarity, and other indices of the status of aggregate persons as social entities. Crawford, M. Entitativity, identity, and the fulfilment of psychological needs.

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Journal Of Experimental Social Psychology ,48 3 , Crump, S. Group entitativity and similarity: Their differing patterns in perceptions of groups. European Journal of Social Psychology, 40 7 , — Deutsch, M. An experimental study of the effects of cooperation and competition upon group processes.

The Psychology of Political Participation and Social Movement Activism: An Embedded Perspective

Human Relations, 2 , — Gersick, C. Time and transition in work teams: Toward a new model of group development. Academy of Management Journal, 31 1 , 9—