Personal Motivations to Collective Action: Applying Olson's Ideas to the Small Business Association of Michigan
Schuetz, G. Gregory
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The Small Business Association of Michigan (SBAM) attracts the majority of its membership of 2,700 on the basis of a nonpolitical incentive: small business group insurance programs through IBA Mutual Insurance Company. Utilizing the theoretical model of economist Mancur Olson, the insurance program constitutes a selective material benefit. Nevertheless, for many of these members the Association's lobbying for small business interests in government is an important secondary inducement. My findings indicate that political incentives based on collective good considerations are pivotal influences for most SBAM members in their decision to join. Furthermore, members joining out of political considerations tend to believe that their dues have a greater effect on SBAM's success or failure in achieving its group goals. They are also subject to greater feelings of responsibility to join the Association. In short, there is a basis for political membership in the Small Business Association of Michigan.