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A Test of the Emergent Norm Theory of Collective Behavior

B. E. Aguirre, Dennis Wenger and Gabriela Vigo
Sociological Forum
Vol. 13, No. 2 (Jun., 1998), pp. 301-320
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/684886
Page Count: 20
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A Test of the Emergent Norm Theory of Collective Behavior
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Abstract

Objective: The paper uses the timing of evacuation behavior of occupants of the World Trade Center at the time of the explosion of February 26, 1993, to test predictions from Emergent Norm Theory. Method: It uses ordinary least square multiple regression analysis to examine data from a survey done in the first week in May 1993 of 415 people who worked at the World Trade Center. Results: The theory's predictions regarding the additive effects of size of group and preexisting social relationships on the timing of evacuation are supported. However, the findings document important and unexpected interaction effects of these two variables on the effects of perceived threat, resources, and cooperativeness on the timing of evacuation. Conclusion: The results augment the theory by showing the continued importance of enduring social relationships as determinants of collective behavior. Enduring social relationships are not only useful to differentiate collective behavior from institutionalized behavior but also specify the dynamics attending the occurrence of collective behavior.

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