Self-Maintenance versus Goal Attainment - Drivers of Mortality Anxiety in Organized Civil Society

Nicole Bolleyer*, Patricia Correa

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


When do membership-based civil society organizations such as interest groups, political
parties or service-oriented organizations consider their existence under threat?
Distinguishing pressures of organizational self-maintenance from functional pressures of
goal attainment, which all voluntary membership organizations – irrespective of their
political or societal functions - need to reconcile, we propose a framework theorizing
distinct categories of drivers of mortality anxiety in organized civil society. To test our
hypotheses, we apply ordered logistic regression analysis to new data covering regionally
and nationally active interest groups, service-oriented organizations and parties in Germany,
Norway, Switzerland and the UK. We find that factors enhancing intra-organizational
resilience thereby facilitating self-maintenance as well as exposure to different
representation challenges complicating goal attainment have significant effects on mortality
anxiety experienced by interest groups, political parties and service-oriented organizations
alike – the former reducing, the latter enhancing it. Stressing the importance of a stable,
durable organizational infrastructure with loyal and involved members to operate in
increasingly volatile and diverse environments, our findings highlight the on-going
importance of ‘traditional’ (sometimes considered ‘outdated’) organization-building.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Political Science Review
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 10 Feb 2020

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