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The Role of Commitment in Collective Action: Comparing the Organizational Behavior and Rational Choice Perspectives

Peter J. Robertson and Shui-Yan Tang
Public Administration Review
Vol. 55, No. 1 (Jan. - Feb., 1995), pp. 67-80
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the American Society for Public Administration
DOI: 10.2307/976829
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/976829
Page Count: 14
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The Role of Commitment in Collective Action: Comparing the Organizational Behavior and Rational Choice Perspectives
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Abstract

What is the role of commitment in collective action? Peter J. Robertson and Shui-Yan Tang examine how this question is addressed from two major theoretical perspectives-organizational behavior and rational choice. The two perspectives differ in the way they define the concept of commitment and in their foci and assumptions regarding the role of commitment in collective action. Despite these differences, both perspectives emphasize the importance of informal structures and mechanisms for generating and maintaining commitment. Robertson and Tang compare the two perspectives with respect to three general strategies-social processes, leadership, and structural design-for fostering commitment in organizational settings. These ideas are then used to analyze the role of commitment in school-based management. The authors conclude by discussing the relative merits of the two theoretical perspectives and by identifying several research questions derived from their comparison.

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