Path: Janda: Political Parties, Home Page > Part 1: Table of Contents > Chapter 12
Kenneth Janda, Political Parties: A Cross-National Survey (New York: The Free Press, 1980)
Chapter 12: Involvement (pp. 126-132), this is p. 126
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(Text below as published in 1980 citation above)

THE LAST OF OUR four major dimensions of variation in the "internal organization" of political parties is "involvement." This term itself seldom appears in the analysis of political parties, but the concept it references seems to subsume several analogous concerns in the literature. Duverger placed great importance on the amount and type of participation and their relationship to the concept of party membership (1963, pp. 90-132). The more severe the requirements for membership, he argued, the greater the involvement in party activities--ranging from the minimum psychological attachment common to supporters of American parties to intense psychological and social attachments that characterize communist party members generally. Neumann incorporated similar distinctions in his classifications of parties as providing social integration rather than merely individual representation (1956, pp. 404-405). The later emphasis in the work of Conway and Feigert (1968) and Gluck (1970) on incentive systems as motivational bases for party activists is also in this vein.

The term "involvement" comes from Anderson's last dimension of variation in his review of literature on organizational theory and political parties. Anderson does not exactly define involvement but discusses it in terms of the amount and type of participation in the party (1968, pp. 397-398). Our concept of involvement, however, is somewhat broader. We are interested in the involvement of party members within the party, of course, and not the involvement of the party in the political system. Specifically, we define involvement as the intensity of psychological identification with the party and as the commitment to furthering its objectives by participating in party activities. We seek to measure this concept through six basic variables:

11.01 -- Membership Requirements
11.02 -- Membership Participation
11.03 -- Material Incentives
11.04 -- Purposive Incentives
11.05 -- Doctrinism
11.06 -- Personalism
Basic Variable 11.01: Membership Requirements

"Membership requirements" refers to criteria that the party imposes on an individual who wishes to participate officially in the party's activities, participation being defined as routine admission to meetings of the local party organization. The nature of these requirements and the cost of complying with them-differs across parties. For some parties, like those in the United States, requirements of party membership are virtually nonexistent-the individual need only profess support of the party to attend its local meetings. For other parties, like most Communist parties, the requirements of membership are so severe that the individual is admitted initially only as a provisional member for a trial period.

Merely signing a membership card is judged to be the least costly requirement. It is more costly to pay dues, and still more costly to go through a probationary period before achieving membership. Although the amount of dues paid is clearly an indicator of cost, this factor will not be incorporated into the definition because of difficulties in translating figures across currencies and problems in the marginal utility of money. Only the fact of having to pay dues is involved in our operationalization.

Operational Definition. These requirements are thought to form a cumulative scale. Any party that imposes a probationary period for membership probably requires dues, and payment of dues requires registered membership. This assumption of cumulative properties can be tested using the principle of geometric progression as used in scoring variable 2.01, "government discrimination." The party is given the sum of the applicable code values.


No membership requirements.


Register as party member or sign card.


Pay dues to party.


Go through probationary period before acceptance.

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