Dissolution of expressive and instrumental voluntary associations: Four key dimensions in explaining organizational change

Dan Sundblom*, Mikko Lagerspetz, Liisi Keedus, Erle Rikmann

*Corresponding author for this work

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This study inspects the reasons as for why voluntary associations end their activity and dissolveas legal entities. The empirical data was gathered through semi-structured interviews with formerleaders of 30 organizations in Estonia and Finland. To appreciate the sector’s diversity, the analysismakes a distinction between associations with mainly expressive, and those with mainly instrumentalfunctions. Causes for the associations’ dissolution fall into four different categories related to (1) theassociation as a social entity, (2) resources, (3) goals and (4) environment. Reasons belonging to thefirst category of internal, social reasons, such as problems of leadership, internal organization andmembership recruitment were the most common ones. However, several reasons often intertwined. Acomparison between associations of different types showed that expressive associations were mostoften threatened by causes in the first category, while they were surprisingly immune to the other ones.Instrumental associations are dependent on other actors and external circumstances, and the reasons fortheir dissolution are likely to be related to problems with resource acquisition, goals or environments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-24
Number of pages16
JournalResearch On Finnish Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 18 Dec 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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