Research on fear of crime in the United States has concentrated on personal fear while overlooking the fear that people have for others in their lives—children, spouses, friends—whose safety they value. Sample survey data reveal that altruistic fear (fear for others) has a distinctive structure in family households and is more common and often more intense than personal fear. Many of the everyday precautions practiced by Americans and conventionally assumed to be self‐protective appear to be a consequence of altruistic fear. These and other findings underscore the need to understand fear of crime as a social rather than an individual phenomenon.
In this article, two experiments support status construction theory's claim that interaction spreads status beliefs through behavior, creating a diffusion process that makes widely shared beliefs possible. The first demonstrates that people who hold a status belief can “teach” it by treating the other in accord with the belief. The second shows that third‐party participants who witness such behavioral treatments also acquire the status belief. The first experiment also verifies a general mechanism by which interaction creates status beliefs: nominally different participants developed shared status beliefs about the difference from the repeated enactment of influence hierarchies corresponding to the difference. This general mechanism suggests that any structural condition that gives one group a systematic advantage in gaining influence over another group in intergroup encounters will foster the development of widely shared status beliefs favoring the advantaged group.
This study refines and experimentally tests a theory of relational cohesion that explains how and when actors become committed to one another in the context of multiactor exchange. The theory asserts that frequent social exchange results in (1) positive emotions that solidify and strengthen the person‐to‐group bond and (2) uncertainty reduction that renders the focal group more salient in relation to others. These two mechanisms produce a sense of psychological group formation and ultimately increase observable acts of commitment. In a “productive exchange” setting, three actors negotiate a joint venture that requires the assent of all members. The exchanges featured two forms of commitment behavior: the giving of small token gifts and the decision to invest in a three‐way prisoner’s dilemma. The results suggest that positive emotion and uncertainty reduction are theoretically distinct and affect commitment behavior through different mechanisms. The article concludes by discussing the general implications for commitment and social order.
This article introduces a new ecological approach to the study of form emergence based on the notion of an organizational community—a bounded set of forms with related identities. Applying the approach to 48 organizational forms in the health care sector, this study suggests that the development of novel forms is affected by the positioning of their identities with respect to existing form identities in the community, by the aggregate density and size of organizations matching those existing identities, and by the amount of attention directed at identity attributes by sector participants. Findings show that the process of form emergence is subject to population‐dependent effects akin to those noted previously for organizational entries within established populations. The aggregate density and size of organizations with similar identities increase the probability of form emergence to a point (cross‐form legitimation), but highly saturated regions of the identity space tend to be uninviting to new forms (cross‐form competition).
The number of small specialty brewers in the U.S. beer brewing industry has increased dramatically in recent decades, even as the market for beer became increasingly dominated by mass‐production brewing companies. Using the resource‐partitioning model of organizational ecology, this article shows that these two apparently contradictory trends are fundamentally interrelated. Hypotheses developed here refine the way scale competition among generalist organizations is modeled and improve the theoretical development of the sociological bases for the appeal of specialist organizations' products, especially those related to organizational identity. Evidence drawn from qualitative and quantitative research provides strong support for the theory. The article offers a brief discussion of the theoretical and substantive issues involved in application of the model to other industries and to other cultures.
This study focuses on the impact of sex, race, and social networks, to analyze the hiring process in a midsized high‐technology organization, using information on all 35,229 applicants in a 10‐year period (1985–94). For gender, the process is entirely meritocratic: age and education account for all sex differences. But even without taking into account the two meritocratic variables, there are small if no differences between men and women at all stages in the hiring process. For ethnic minorities, the process is partly meritocratic but partly reliant upon social networks. Once referral method is taken into account, all race effects disappear. In hiring, ethnic minorities are thus disadvantaged in the processes that take place before the organization is contacted. They lack access to or utilize less well the social networks that lead to high success in getting hired.