What Tears Them Apart? Dissolution in Instrumental and Expressive Voluntary Associations

Dan Sundblom, Robin Wehrlin (Editor)

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    This paper elaborates the instrumental-expressive typology to explore how endogenous and exogenous factors are linked to the dissolution of voluntary associations. Starting from a separation between associations’ emphasis on societal influence and/or service delivery, or socializing in their activity, three categories along the instrumental-expressive dimension are tested against key-explanations in the study of nonprofit and voluntary organization death, such as liability of newness and smallness. The original sample, gathered in the late 1990s, includes 3377 registered voluntary associations, of which 517 have ended their activities to this day. The results suggest that there are significant differences along the instrumental-expressive dimension with regard to organizational dissolution and survival. An important finding is that organizational age and membership size do not correlate with the dissolution of purely instrumental associations, that is, associations that emphasize advocacy and service delivery, while they are good predictors of dissolution among the expressive associations.

    Original languageEnglish
    PublisherInternational Society for Third Sector Research
    ISBN (Print)14
    Publication statusPublished - 2016
    MoE publication typeD4 Published development or research report or study


    • voluntary associations
    • dissolution


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