Affective Attachments to Nested Groups: The Role of Rational Choice Processes
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[Excerpt] This paper puts forth an emotional/affective explanation for action in the collective or group interest. The explanation is based on the choice process theory of affective attachments to groups (Lawler 1992)—a theory that focuses on individual- to-group ties in a nested-group context where a subgroup is encompassed within a larger group. According to this theory, choice processes that give actors a sense of control arouse positive emotions, and these lead to affective group attachments. A broader implication is that freedom, choice, and self-determination promote action on behalf of the collective interest through an emotional/affective process. The choice process, furthermore, has an important impact on the allocation of affective attachments to the subgroup and the larger group, independent of the consequences of the actual choices made. In this paper, I show how the choice process theory of affective attachments supplements in some respects, and modifies in other respects, a rational choice approach to collectively oriented behavior in groups.