Why People Cooperate: The Role of Social Motivations

Princeton University Press
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Any organization's success depends upon the voluntary cooperation of its members. But what motivates people to cooperate? In Why People Cooperate, Tom Tyler challenges the decades-old notion that individuals within groups are primarily motivated by their self-interest. Instead, he demonstrates that human behaviors are influenced by shared attitudes, values, and identities that reflect social connections rather than material interests.

Tyler examines employee cooperation in work organizations, resident cooperation with legal authorities responsible for social order in neighborhoods, and citizen cooperation with governmental authorities in political communities. He demonstrates that the main factors for achieving cooperation are socially driven, rather than instrumentally based on incentives or sanctions. Because of this, social motivations are critical when authorities attempt to secure voluntary cooperation from group members. Tyler also explains that two related aspects of group practices--the use of fair procedures when exercising authority and the belief by group members that authorities are benevolent and sincere--are crucial to the development of the attitudes, values, and identities that underlie cooperation.

With widespread implications for the management of organizations, community regulation, and governance, Why People Cooperate illustrates the vital role that voluntary cooperation plays in the long-standing viability of groups.

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About the author

Tom R. Tyler is the Macklin Fleming Professor of Law and Professor of Psychology at Yale Law School.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Sep 27, 2010
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Pages
232
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ISBN
9781400836666
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Language
English
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Genres
Psychology / Applied Psychology
Psychology / Industrial & Organizational Psychology
Psychology / Social Psychology
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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The police and the courts depend on the cooperation of communities to keep order. But large numbers of urban poor distrust law enforcement officials. Legitimacy and Criminal Justice explores the reasons that legal authorities are or are not seen as legitimate and trustworthy by many citizens.

Legitimacy and Criminal Justice is the first study of the perceived legitimacy of legal institutions outside the U.S. The authors investigate relations between courts, the police, and communities in the U.K., Western Europe, South Africa, Slovenia, South America, and Mexico, demonstrating the importance of social context in shaping those relations. Gorazd Meško and Goran Klemencic examine Slovenia’s adoption of Western-style “community policing” during its transition to democracy. In the context of Slovenia’s recent Communist past—when “community policing” entailed omnipresent social and political control—citizens regarded these efforts with great suspicion, and offered little cooperation to the police. When states fail to control crime, informal methods of law can gain legitimacy. Jennifer Johnson discusses an extra-legal policing system carried out by farmers in Guerrero, Mexico—complete with sentencing guidelines and initiatives to reintegrate offenders into the community. Feeling that federal authorities were not prosecuting the crimes that plagued their province, the citizens of Guerrero strongly supported this extra-legal arrangement, and engaged in massive protests when the central government tried to suppress it. Several of the authors examine how the perceived legitimacy of the police and courts varies across social groups. Graziella Da Silva, Ignacio Cano, and Hugo Frühling show that attitudes toward the police vary greatly across social classes in harshly unequal societies like Brazil and Chile. And many of the authors find that ethnic minorities often display greater distrust toward the police, and perceive themselves to be targets of police discrimination. Indeed, Hans-Jöerg Albrecht finds evidence of bias in arrests of the foreign born in Germany, which has fueled discontent among Berlin’s Turkish youth. Sophie Body-Gendrot points out that mutual hostility between police and minority communities can lead to large-scale violence, as the Parisian banlieu riots underscored.

The case studies presented in this important new book show that fostering cooperation between law enforcement and communities requires the former to pay careful attention to the needs and attitudes of the latter. Forging a new field of comparative research, Legitimacy and Criminal Justice brings to light many of the reasons the law’s representatives succeed—or fail—in winning citizens’ hearts and minds.

A Volume in the Russell Sage Foundation Series on Trust

Why do humans, uniquely among animals, cooperate in large numbers to advance projects for the common good? Contrary to the conventional wisdom in biology and economics, this generous and civic-minded behavior is widespread and cannot be explained simply by far-sighted self-interest or a desire to help close genealogical kin.

In A Cooperative Species, Samuel Bowles and Herbert Gintis--pioneers in the new experimental and evolutionary science of human behavior--show that the central issue is not why selfish people act generously, but instead how genetic and cultural evolution has produced a species in which substantial numbers make sacrifices to uphold ethical norms and to help even total strangers.

The authors describe how, for thousands of generations, cooperation with fellow group members has been essential to survival. Groups that created institutions to protect the civic-minded from exploitation by the selfish flourished and prevailed in conflicts with less cooperative groups. Key to this process was the evolution of social emotions such as shame and guilt, and our capacity to internalize social norms so that acting ethically became a personal goal rather than simply a prudent way to avoid punishment.

Using experimental, archaeological, genetic, and ethnographic data to calibrate models of the coevolution of genes and culture as well as prehistoric warfare and other forms of group competition, A Cooperative Species provides a compelling and novel account of how humans came to be moral and cooperative.

Public opinion polls suggest that American's trust in the police and courts is declining. The same polls also reveal a disturbing racial divide, with minorities expressing greater levels of distrust than whites. Practices such as racial profiling, zero-tolerance and three-strikes laws, the use of excessive force, and harsh punishments for minor drug crimes all contribute to perceptions of injustice. In Trust in the Law, psychologists Tom R. Tyler and Yuen J. Huo present a compelling argument that effective law enforcement requires the active engagement and participation of the communities it serves, and argue for a cooperative approach to law enforcement that appeals to people's sense of fair play, even if the outcomes are not always those with which they agree.

Based on a wide-ranging survey of citizens who had recent contact with the police or courts in Oakland and Los Angeles, Trust in the Law examines the sources of people's favorable and unfavorable reactions to their encounters with legal authorities. Tyler and Huo address the issue from a variety of angles: the psychology of decision acceptance, the importance of individual personal experiences, and the role of ethnic group identification. They find that people react primarily to whether or not they are treated with dignity and respect, and the degree to which they feel they have been treated fairly helps to shape their acceptance of the legal process. Their findings show significantly less willingness on the part of minority group members who feel they have been treated unfairly to trust the motives to subsequent legal decisions of law enforcement authorities.

Since most people in the study generalize from their personal experiences with individual police officers and judges, Tyler and Huo suggest that gaining maximum cooperation and consent of the public depends upon fair and transparent decision-making and treatment on the part of law enforcement officers. Tyler and Huo conclude that the best way to encourage compliance with the law is for legal authorities to implement programs that foster a sense of personal involvement and responsibility. For example, community policing programs, in which the local population is actively engaged in monitoring its own neighborhood, have been shown to be an effective tool in improving police-community relationships.

Cooperation between legal authorities and community members is a much discussed but often elusive goal. Trust in the Law shows that legal authorities can behave in ways that encourage the voluntary acceptance of their directives, while also building trust and confidence in the overall legitimacy of the police and courts.

A Volume in the Russell Sage Foundation Series on Trust

Legal socialization is the process by which children and adolescents acquire their law related values, attitudes, and reasoning capacities. Such values and attitudes, in particular legitimacy, underlie the ability and willingness to consent to laws and defer to legal authorities that make legitimacy based legal systems possible. By age eighteen a person's orientation toward law is largely established, yet legal scholarship has largely ignored this process in favor of studying adults and their relationship to the law. Why Children Follow Rules focuses upon legal socialization outlining what is known about the process across three related, but distinct, contexts: the family, the school, and the juvenile justice system. Throughout, Tom Tyler and Rick Trinkner emphasize the degree to which individuals develop their orientations toward law and legal authority upon values connected to responsibility and obligation as opposed to fear of punishment. They argue that authorities can act in ways that internalize legal values and promote supportive attitudes. In particular, consensual legal authority is linked to three issues: how authorities make decisions, how they treat people, and whether they recognize the boundaries of their authority. When individuals experience authority that is fair, respectful, and aware of the limits of power, they are more likely to consent and follow directives. Despite clear evidence showing the benefits of consensual authority, strong pressures and popular support for the exercise of authority based on dominance and force persist in America's families, schools, and within the juvenile justice system. As the currently low levels of public trust and confidence in the police, the courts, and the law undermine the effectiveness of our legal system, Tom Tyler and Rick Trinkner point to alternative way to foster the popular legitimacy of the law in an era of mistrust.
Legal socialization is the process by which children and adolescents acquire their law related values, attitudes, and reasoning capacities. Such values and attitudes, in particular legitimacy, underlie the ability and willingness to consent to laws and defer to legal authorities that make legitimacy based legal systems possible. By age eighteen a person's orientation toward law is largely established, yet legal scholarship has largely ignored this process in favor of studying adults and their relationship to the law. Why Children Follow Rules focuses upon legal socialization outlining what is known about the process across three related, but distinct, contexts: the family, the school, and the juvenile justice system. Throughout, Tom Tyler and Rick Trinkner emphasize the degree to which individuals develop their orientations toward law and legal authority upon values connected to responsibility and obligation as opposed to fear of punishment. They argue that authorities can act in ways that internalize legal values and promote supportive attitudes. In particular, consensual legal authority is linked to three issues: how authorities make decisions, how they treat people, and whether they recognize the boundaries of their authority. When individuals experience authority that is fair, respectful, and aware of the limits of power, they are more likely to consent and follow directives. Despite clear evidence showing the benefits of consensual authority, strong pressures and popular support for the exercise of authority based on dominance and force persist in America's families, schools, and within the juvenile justice system. As the currently low levels of public trust and confidence in the police, the courts, and the law undermine the effectiveness of our legal system, Tom Tyler and Rick Trinkner point to alternative way to foster the popular legitimacy of the law in an era of mistrust.
The police and the courts depend on the cooperation of communities to keep order. But large numbers of urban poor distrust law enforcement officials. Legitimacy and Criminal Justice explores the reasons that legal authorities are or are not seen as legitimate and trustworthy by many citizens.

Legitimacy and Criminal Justice is the first study of the perceived legitimacy of legal institutions outside the U.S. The authors investigate relations between courts, the police, and communities in the U.K., Western Europe, South Africa, Slovenia, South America, and Mexico, demonstrating the importance of social context in shaping those relations. Gorazd Meško and Goran Klemencic examine Slovenia’s adoption of Western-style “community policing” during its transition to democracy. In the context of Slovenia’s recent Communist past—when “community policing” entailed omnipresent social and political control—citizens regarded these efforts with great suspicion, and offered little cooperation to the police. When states fail to control crime, informal methods of law can gain legitimacy. Jennifer Johnson discusses an extra-legal policing system carried out by farmers in Guerrero, Mexico—complete with sentencing guidelines and initiatives to reintegrate offenders into the community. Feeling that federal authorities were not prosecuting the crimes that plagued their province, the citizens of Guerrero strongly supported this extra-legal arrangement, and engaged in massive protests when the central government tried to suppress it. Several of the authors examine how the perceived legitimacy of the police and courts varies across social groups. Graziella Da Silva, Ignacio Cano, and Hugo Frühling show that attitudes toward the police vary greatly across social classes in harshly unequal societies like Brazil and Chile. And many of the authors find that ethnic minorities often display greater distrust toward the police, and perceive themselves to be targets of police discrimination. Indeed, Hans-Jöerg Albrecht finds evidence of bias in arrests of the foreign born in Germany, which has fueled discontent among Berlin’s Turkish youth. Sophie Body-Gendrot points out that mutual hostility between police and minority communities can lead to large-scale violence, as the Parisian banlieu riots underscored.

The case studies presented in this important new book show that fostering cooperation between law enforcement and communities requires the former to pay careful attention to the needs and attitudes of the latter. Forging a new field of comparative research, Legitimacy and Criminal Justice brings to light many of the reasons the law’s representatives succeed—or fail—in winning citizens’ hearts and minds.

A Volume in the Russell Sage Foundation Series on Trust

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