Citizens' Intentions to Participate in Civil Society Organisations


  • Rigita Tijunaitiene Šiauliai University
  • Jurgita Bersenaite Šiauliai University


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


This publication is from a series of articles (research results have been published in research journals "EngineeringEconomics", "SocialResearch", "Economics and Management: Current Issues and Perspectives" etc.), which is devoted to analysis of citizens' participation in activities of civil society organisations (hereinafter referred to as CSOs). In order to avoid repetition of scientific material, we will leave out here the broad description of theoretical aspects of motivation for participation in CSOs, which have been studied extensively in publications by Tijunaitiene (2009a); Tijunaitiene, Balciunas (2010); Tijunaitiene et al. (2009 a, b).This article deals with citizens' intentions to participate in CSOs in the context of individualistic and collectivistic incentives. The article consists of three parts. First, with reference to a part of results of research carried out in 2007 here are analyzed links between individualistic motives for participation and citizens' intentions to participate in future. It is proposed in the article that for most of the research participants the most important individualistic incentives are internal incentives, i.e., greater self-realization, pleasure, valuable experience of learning, and greater self-confidence. This is grounded on the fact that in the research on values self-confidence is highly appreciated, andpeople's self-realization very often is related to public and social activities. For those who intend to more actively participate in CSOs in future it is very important to feel that they can control their life. Nevertheless, for citizens their personal interests are often above public interests.The second part describes the analyzed links between collectivistic incentives and intentions to participate in CSOs by comparing two dimensions (joint activities and organizational activity competence), i.e., various statements that encompass factors and actual statistics of participation. There is made a statement that the dimension of joint activities is strongly expressed for those who intend to decrease or increase the intensity of participation, and also for those who intend to retain the same level of intensity. It follows that the stable albeit relatively low level of participation in CSOs (e.g., involvement in activities of labour unions or political parties) testifies that their permanent members are united by the aim to influence social and political processes. In addition, averagely expressed dimension of organizational activity competence lets us state that by participating in activities of CSOs citizens do not commit themselves to follow the public good in their activities, they rather associate their participation with leisure time, feeling well within the CSO or are influenced to participate by others. Nevertheless most of the CSO members intended to retain the same level of intensity of participation.The third part reveals the changes in participation in CSOs with reference to available statistical information as well as researches by other authors, it is summed up that currently the most active participation is in activities of local communities, because the interest is in issues of the nearest environment. Potential level of citizens' participation in CSOs is rather high, because it is social activities that are related to opportunities of self-realization.

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