Community Commitments

There is an interesting paper on commitment as it relates to communities. The work researched 91 utopian communities and determined which similar practices were factors that made each community either a success or failure. Those communities that were deemed successful, were more likely to have inherent activities associated with one of the following mechanisms. It's important to note that these mechanisms can also be seen as development stages for a community, but it should not be assumed that a community in a latter stage is more successful.

Mechanisms of Community Commitment*

  1. Cognitive-continuance Commitment (Compliance): Acceptance to certain social roles that have positive valence, but no affectivity or evaluations attached to the roles. Participation stems from rewards and punishments and requires sacrifice and investments from individuals.
  2. Cathectic-cohesion Commitment (Identification): Social relationships with affectivity but without internal moral imperatives.  Participation increases beyond rewards and punishments but as a result to emotional attachments to others. It requires individuals to renunciate other relationships that are disruptive to group cohesion and to commune with the group as a whole.
  3. Evaluative (or Control) Commitment (Internalization): Acceptance to norms that stem from an individuals obligations to values and morals. Participation stems from an internalized moral code influenced by their social affiliation. This stage of commitment gives order and meaning to an individuals life. Without the group, the individual would see himself as humble or hapless.

*Source: Kanter, Rosabeth Moss. "Commitment and Social Organization: A Study of Commitment Mechanisms in Utopian Communities." American Sociological Review August Volume 33. Issue 4 (1968): p499-517.