Global community : Case study of the Houston Baha'is
Archer, Mary Elizabeth
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The Houston Baha'i community is attempting to build a community that eliminates prejudices based on national, racial, and sexual differences. A normative group, the community depends on noncoercive commitment mechanisms. Kanter (1972) defines commitment as an integration of self concept with organizational needs. The Baha'i religion, founded in Persia in 1844, offers a new vision of the communal effort. Intellectual and sacred rewards motivate members, who do not withdraw from worldly endeavors but are committed to educational attainment and careers. Members do, however, withdraw from public affairs that do not support the universalistic goals of the Faith, for the group works to build the community as God's instrument for bringing world peace. Commitment mechanisms that support individuals who want instrumental rewards will be needed to build a world community. Investigation of the Houston group was made by selective participation in community affairs for three years and from reading Baha'i literature.