• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

Grassroots Associations is a comprehensive review and critique of empirical and theoretical research on grassroots, nonprofit and voluntary organizations. David Horton Smith examines in depth the distinctive nature and characteristics of a previously under-studied area which includes such groups as Alchoholics Anonymous, community-environmental action committees and church Bible study groups. He addresses: group formation, structure, process, leadership, and life cycle change; effectiveness; the influence such associations have on society; the future of grassroots associations, which he sees as integral to a postmodern society moving towards participatory democracy, self-determinism and individual choice.

Internal Guidance Systems
Internal guidance systems

By definition (Smith, 1967), all groups must guide their members to some extent regarding appropriate and acceptable thoughts (ideology), motives (desires), feelings (emotions), and actions (behaviors). The presence of a group goal and group style norms, among other factors, sees to this. The very existence of a group is a type of “fictive reality” in the heads of its members as individual humans—a type of mental computer program for the set of individual members to act, think, feel, and strive differently from nonmembers because they are group members. For example, as a member of the Boy Scouts while a youth, I was supposed to be somewhat more moral in my actions as well as more knowledgeable about “camp craft” than ...

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