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Why People Cooperate:
The Role of Social Motivations
Tom R. Tyler

One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 2011: Top 25 Books

Paperback | 2013 | $27.95 | £22.95 | ISBN: 9780691158006
232 pp. | 6 x 9 1/4 | 3 line illus. 14 tables.
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Any organization's success depends upon the voluntary cooperation of its members. But what motivates people to cooperate? In Why People Cooperate, Tom Tyler challenges the decades-old notion that individuals within groups are primarily motivated by their self-interest. Instead, he demonstrates that human behaviors are influenced by shared attitudes, values, and identities that reflect social connections rather than material interests.

Tyler examines employee cooperation in work organizations, resident cooperation with legal authorities responsible for social order in neighborhoods, and citizen cooperation with governmental authorities in political communities. He demonstrates that the main factors for achieving cooperation are socially driven, rather than instrumentally based on incentives or sanctions. Because of this, social motivations are critical when authorities attempt to secure voluntary cooperation from group members. Tyler also explains that two related aspects of group practices--the use of fair procedures when exercising authority and the belief by group members that authorities are benevolent and sincere--are crucial to the development of the attitudes, values, and identities that underlie cooperation.

With widespread implications for the management of organizations, community regulation, and governance, Why People Cooperate illustrates the vital role that voluntary cooperation plays in the long-standing viability of groups.


"I am a fan of Tyler's approach. . . . [H]e supports his theoretical approach by clear and rigorous research rather than the polemic that all too often substitutes for thought in criminology. . . . [H]e demonstrates the paucity of the view that human action is pushed and pulled by the lures of rewards and threats of penalties. . . . [H]e focuses not on the supposed outcomes of policing (such as crime rates), but upon how policing is conducted."--P.A.J. Waddington, Policing

"One of the clear strengths of Why People Cooperate is its applicability to a variety of disciplines. Certainly, social psychologists and some political scientists with an empirical bent will want to read this book because it offers new ways to explore interactions and exchanges within groups. Industrial/organizational psychologists and researchers in management science, too, will readily see the applicability of Tyler's persuasive evidence. . . . Researchers interested in social policies. . . are also likely to find grist for their respective mills in this brief but rich book."--Dana S. Dunn, PsycCRITIQUES: Contemporary Psychology: APA Review Of Books

"[T]he book is well written, the ideas are presented clearly and the arguments are empirically grounded. Professor Tyler not only captures the reader's attention, but also manages to change his/her mind about the topic. The book is highly recommended to researchers, academics, professionals and even laypeople interested in the topic."--Francesc S. Beltran, Journal of Artificial Societies Social Simulation

"With innovative analyses throughout Why People Cooperate: The Role of Social Motivations, Tom Tyler offers the foundation for participation based in social relationships. Numerous recent studies are cited that build his assertions and provide documented results for motivating cooperation within a variety of group settings."--Paula Tripp, Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences

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Table of Contents:

List of Illustrations vii
Acknowledgments ix
Overview 1

Section One: Introduction 9
CHAPTER ONE: Why Do People Cooperate? 11
CHAPTER TWO: Motivational Models 27

Section Two: Empirical Findings 49
CHAPTER THREE: Cooperation with Managerial Authorities in Work Settings 51
CHAPTER FOUR: Cooperation with Legal Authorities in Local Communities 66
CHAPTER FIVE: Cooperation with Political Authorities 81

Section Three: Implications 91
CHAPTER SIX: The Psychology of Cooperation 93
CHAPTER SEVEN: Implications 108
CHAPTER EIGHT: Self-regulation as a General Model 146

Conclusion 167
Notes 169
References 187
Index 209

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