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Why Do People Engage in Collective Action? Revisiting the Role of Perceived Effectiveness

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Abstract

Research has shown limited support for the notion that perceived effectiveness of collective action is a predictor of intentions to engage in collective action. One reason may be that effectiveness has been in terms of whether the action will influence key decision makers. We argue that the effectiveness of collective action might be judged by other criteria, such as whether it influences third parties, builds an oppositional movement, and expresses values. Two hundred and thirty one attendees at a rally rated the effectiveness of the rally and their intentions to engage in future collective action. For those participants who were not members of an organization, intentions were linked to the perceived effectiveness of the rally in expressing values and influencing the public. For those who were members of an organization, intentions were linked only to the effectiveness of the rally in building an oppositional movement.

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