Citizens’ Intentions to Participate in Civil Society Organisations

Rigita Tijunaitiene, Jurgita Bersenaite


This publication is from a series of articles (researchresults have been published in research journals“Engineering Economics”, “Social Research”, “Economicsand Management: Current Issues and Perspectives” etc.),which is devoted to analysis of citizens’ participation inactivities of civil society organisations (hereinafter referredto as CSOs). In order to avoid repetition of scientificmaterial, we will leave out here the broad description oftheoretical aspects of motivation for participation in CSOs,which have been studied extensively in publications byTijunaitiene (2009a); Tijunaitiene, Balciunas (2010);Tijunaitiene et al. (2009 a, b).This article deals with citizens’ intentions toparticipate in CSOs in the context of individualistic andcollectivistic incentives. The article consists of three parts.First, with reference to a part of results of research carriedout in 2007 here are analyzed links between individualisticmotives for participation and citizens’ intentions toparticipate in future. It is proposed in the article that formost of the research participants the most importantindividualistic incentives are internal incentives, i.e.,greater self-realization, pleasure, valuable experience oflearning, and greater self-confidence. This is grounded onthe fact that in the research on values self-confidence ishighly appreciated, and people’s self-realization very oftenis related to public and social activities. For those whointend to more actively participate in CSOs in future it isvery important to feel that they can control their life.Nevertheless, for citizens their personal interests are oftenabove public interests.The second part describes the analyzed links betweencollectivistic incentives and intentions to participate inCSOs by comparing two dimensions (joint activities andorganizational activity competence), i.e., variousstatements that encompass factors and actual statistics ofparticipation. There is made a statement that thedimension of joint activities is strongly expressed for thosewho intend to decrease or increase the intensity ofparticipation, and also for those who intend to retain thesame level of intensity. It follows that the stable albeitrelatively low level of participation in CSOs (e.g.,involvement in activities of labour unions or politicalparties) testifies that their permanent members are unitedby the aim to influence social and political processes. Inaddition, averagely expressed dimension of organizationalactivity competence lets us state that by participating inactivities of CSOs citizens do not commit themselves tofollow the public good in their activities, they ratherassociate their participation with leisure time, feeling wellwithin the CSO or are influenced to participate by others.Nevertheless most of the CSO members intended to retainthe same level of intensity of participation.The third part reveals the changes in participation inCSOs with reference to available statistical information aswell as researches by other authors, it is summed up thatcurrently the most active participation is in activities oflocal communities, because the interest is in issues of thenearest environment. Potential level of citizens’participation in CSOs is rather high, because it is socialactivities that are related to opportunities of self-realization.


civil society organizations, participation of citizens, motivation to participate, Mutual Incentives Theory, motives.

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Print ISSN: 1392-2785
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