Decision making processes within environmental social movement organizations are analysed with reference to principles derived from the communicative rationality of Jürgen Habermas. Habermas can provide normative grounds for consensual decision making, and analytical tools by which one can judge existing practices. The radical environmental organization chosen as an example of such analysis is Earth First!. But insight is also given into the operations of more hierarchical organizations such as Friends of the Earth. Organization theory can be used to show how these two different types of organization legitimate themselves in order to acquire resources from their environments, and thereby effectively engage in their chosen activities. These differing needs and structures impact upon their respective decision making processes in certain ways. Overall, while FOE is less able to put communicative rationality into practice than radical groups, the difficulties it faces here can potentially be overcome. Both organizational forms can therefore be constructively analysed using the principles of communicative rationality.
Whitworth, A. (2002), "Communicative rationality and decision making in environmental organizations", Coy, P. (Ed.) Consensus Decision Making, Northern Ireland and Indigenous Movements (Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change, Vol. 24), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 123-153. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0163-786X(03)80023-XDownload as .RIS
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