Cooptation and Coalition Mobilization
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Lawler, Edward J.; Youngs, George A. Jr.; Lesh, Michael D.
The question addressed by this research was, “When structural circumstances make revolutionary action likely, under what conditions will a cooptation strategy prevent subordinate revolts?” Experimental procedures established a group status hierarchy consisting of a leader and two subordinates. Groups earned collective outcomes, and the leader usurped an inequitable portion of these outcomes. In this context, the first experiment shows that a cooptation strategy (i.e., offer of a promotion to one of two subordinates) inhibits subordinate revolts. Two additional experiments indicate that the cooptation strategy is most effective (a) if the offer (strategy) provides the target of cooptation a source of personal gain; (b) if the offer (strategy) is a result of the leader’s own volition, rather than situational constraints; and (c) if the leader conveys a strong commitment to follow through on the promotion offer. The results are interpreted with reference to subjective-expected-utility and reciprocity theories.
revolutionary action; cooptation strategy; subordinate revolts
Required Publisher Statement: © Wiley. Final version published as: Lawler, E. J., Youngs, G. A., Jr., & Lesh, M. D. (1978). Cooptation and coalition mobilization [Electronic version]. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 8(3), 199-214. doi: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.1978.tb00777.x Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.