Internet-Mediated Cooperative Norm Setting: In Search of Institutional and Organizational Success Factors

Friday, July 18, 2014: 10:45 AM
Room: 512
Oral Presentation
Ulf TRANOW , Heinrich-Heine-University of Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, Germany

Norms are an essential mean of any social group, organization or society to solve the problems of social life and to accomplish common goals. In a lot of social contexts norms are the results of formal processes, in which representatives, authorities or experts develop and impose norms on their recipients (e.g. parliamentary legislation or acts of authoritative imposing of norms in organizations). Current developments show an increasing demand for direct involvement in the process of collective decision making. The demand for direct participation is mostly justified with reference to democratic ideals, but there are also empirical evidences that the “quality” of norms increase if affected individuals take part in their development (Ostrom 1990, 2009). With the term “internet-mediated cooperative norm setting” we (a research group located at the University of Düsseldorf /Germany) define a process of drafting, discussing and deciding on norms that are binding for a group and in which all members of this group can participate in.

For a successful implementation of an internet-mediated cooperative norm setting two challenges are to be met: First, the individual contributions must be aggregated to an outcome. Second, people need to be motivated to take part in a process which might eventually be longsome and cost-intensive. If these challenges can be solved, is dependent on context factors like the institutional embedment and on design factors like the forms of participation and the modes of decision making offered.            

In the contribution, I will first outline the concept of an internet-mediated cooperative norm setting. Second, I will present a framework for the analysis of the institutional design. Third, I will present results of an empirical evaluation of a project of internet-mediated cooperative norm setting which was realized in the summer of 2013.