Professor in Evolutionary Psychology, Work and Organizational Psychology


Evolution and Cooperation

Central, individual or collective control? (2002)

Van Vugt, M. (2002). Central, individual or collective control? Social dilemma strategies for natural resource management. American Behavioral Scientist, 45,  783-800.



In this article, natural resource management is conceptualized as a social dilemma, a conflict between the short-term self-interest of users and the long-term collective interest of the user community. A self-interest versus community perspective is offered to explain individuals' decision-making in resource dilemmas. The selfinterest model assumes that users seek to maximize their personal benefits regardless of the collective implications. To foster sustainable use, it is necessary to restrict people’s access to the resource, either through controlling the resource centrally (centralization) or by creating a system of individual access (individualization). The alternative community model suggests that communities can foster self-restraint among users provided that they feel attached to their community. These two perspectives and their implications for natural resource management are systematically compared using findings from research on water conservation.



Copyright © 2012– Mark van Vugt