Electronic Thesis/Dissertation


The Social Fitness of Insurgencies: The Organizational Payoff for Legitimated Power Open Access

An organization that seeks to transform persons, places or things needs resilience to achieve its goals. In their effort to transform their societies, political organizations compete "not just for resources and customers (followers), but for political power and institutional legitimacy, for social as well as economic fitness" (DiMaggio and Powell 1991). Weber believed that `turning raw power into legitimate authority was the central dilemma of politics' (Ikenberry 2001:17). Political organizations that are transformation-seeking and also strategically use violence as part of their transformation missions - defined as insurgencies in this research - are arguably the most resource-intensive forms of non-state political organizations (Ashforth & Gibbs 1991; Weinstein 2006). There is wide variation, however, in the resilience of these organizations (Byman 2007 and 2006, Hoffman 2002). This dissertation will investigate the specific payoff to three insurgent organizations for their `social deposits' to legitimate their power sufficiently prior to the shocks. The specific organizational payoff to be studied is the impact on the organization's resilience. Goodwin & Skocpal (1989) noted that the lifeblood of any insurgent organization "is the ongoing provision of such collective and selective goods (e.g., security, social aid), not ideological conversion in the abstract, that has played the principal role in solidifying social support for guerilla armies." This research will challenge that position in the sense that the provision of material payoffs is likely necessary but far from sufficient to produce organizational resilience.

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