ایجاد تعهد عمومی بعنوان یک راه حل ساختاری در معضلات اجتماعی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|36605||2009||7 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||محاسبه نشده|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Environmental Psychology, Volume 29, Issue 4, December 2009, Pages 400–406
Research shows that public commitment making helps promote pro-environmental behavior. However, not everyone may be willing to make such commitments. Therefore, it is important to investigate the conditions under which commitment making is likely to occur. We expected dispositional trust and situational expectations to determine the willingness to install a system of public commitments. Two studies are presented which show that group members low in dispositional trust (low trusters) are likely to choose for a public commitment system when their situational expectations concerning other group members' contributions are high, while those high in dispositional trust (high trusters) are likely to choose for a public commitment system when their situational expectations concerning other group members' contributions are low. It appears that for both low and high trusters the choice for a system of public commitments is instigated by a motivation to further the collective outcomes.
Public commitment making has been used as an intervention strategy to promote environmental friendly behavior in several studies (e.g., DeLeon and Fuqua, 1995 and Matthies et al., 2006) and is seen as quite successful (for overviews see De Young, 1993 and Dwyer et al., 1993). In these studies, participants are usually asked to make a formal and public commitment to engage in a particular type of environmental behavior. However, as DeLeon and Fuqua note, “an unknown number of the entire community might refuse to make a commitment.” (1995, p. 236). In their own study on the effects of public commitment and group feedback on curbside recycling, an average of 36% of the participants in the commitment conditions did not make a commitment. Other studies on recycling behavior (Wang & Katzev, 1990) and the use of public transport (Matthies et al., 2006) have reported similar reluctance to make commitments. Although studies on the effects of public commitments do acknowledge that some people may be unwilling to make public commitments, the willingness to make public commitments has not been addressed as a focal issue. Thus, to our knowledge, no research has yet been done that identifies the conditions under which people will be willing to make public commitments to change their environmental behavior. This paper aims to answer that question by identifying public commitment making as a structural solution to social dilemmas. A social dilemma situation occurs when the individual and the collective welfare are at odds with each other. The course of action that is attractive for the individual leads to an undesirable outcome for the group. This type of situation is very common in everyday life. Think for example of the various kinds of environmentally responsible behaviors, such as recycling. On the individual level, they are often not attractive to perform, because they are costly in terms of resources such as time, attention or money. It is often more attractive for the individual not to recycle. On the collective level, however, not recycling leads to an undesirable outcome: the rapid decline of our environment. In social dilemmas, behavior for the sake of the collective is called cooperation, while behavior for the sake of the individual is called defection (for overviews, see Komorita and Parks, 1995 and Weber et al., 2004). One specific type of dilemma is the public good dilemma, in which individual group members have to decide on whether or not to contribute to a certain public good. Not contributing may lead to the public good not being realized, whereas contributing may lead to exploitation when the rest of the group defects (see e.g., Dawes et al., 1990 and Van Dijk and Wilke, 1999). Public goods typically are characterized by the property of non-exclusion: People cannot be excluded from consuming the public good. The benefits of a public good can therefore also be enjoyed by the group members who did not contribute. This causes the problem of free-riding: self-interest may lead group members to rely on the contributions of others while not contributing themselves. Eventually this may lead to underprovision of the public good. Therefore, it is important to investigate how group members can be induced to contribute to the public good. There are several environmental issues that closely resemble a public good dilemma (Joireman et al., 2001, Van Lange et al., 1998 and Van Vugt and Samuelson, 1999). Think for instance of a community that decides to adopt an energy saving system such as solar panels, but relies on its members to contribute to such a system. If no one contributes, the system will not be realized. However, once the system is realized, all members will enjoy its benefits, even the ones not contributing. How can people be induced to cooperate under such conditions? A key aspect of decision making in environmental issues is the balance between self and collective interest. In order to understand such environmental issues, and to intervene in them, it is essential to understand the nature of social dilemmas (Gifford and Hine, 1997 and Vlek, 2000). Past research has shown that a period of communication between group members significantly increases cooperation (Dawes, 1980, Kerr and Kaufman-Gilliland, 1994, Kollock, 1998 and Komorita and Parks, 1995). This is explained by the finding that a period of communication gives group members the opportunity to make commitments to each other to cooperate (Kerr & Kaufman-Gilliland, 1994). Group members then experience a strong norm to keep their commitments (Kerr, Garst, Lewandowski, & Harris, 1997). This research strongly suggests that the making of commitments in the group has a positive influence on cooperation. The question that remains unanswered, however, is under which conditions people are willing to make such public commitments.