Collectivism and activism in housing management in Hong Kong

Yung YAU*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


Management of apartment buildings is never straightforward because of the need for collective homeowner action. Mancur Olson suggests that a rational individual will not participate in collective action which provides no positive net benefit for him or her. Based on this premise, it would seem that rationality drives homeowners to free-ride on others' efforts and that, as a result, no collective action will take place. However, some homeowners do actively participate in housing management, and it is worthwhile to examine why some participate and others do not. Building on the wide-ranging applications of the collective interest model (CIM) in explaining political participation and environmental activism, this paper expands its relevance to the arena of housing management. The explanatory analysis which is based on the findings of a structured questionnaire survey in Hong Kong corroborates the central propositions of the CIM and provides a theoretical account of housing management activism. In brief, housing management activism is a function of beliefs about personal and group efficacy, the value of the collective good, and the selective benefits and costs of participation. These findings have far-reaching implications for the formulation of government policies promoting homeowners' active involvement in housing management in Hong Kong and other megacities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)327-334
Number of pages8
JournalHabitat International
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2011
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The work described in this paper was supported by the Start-up Grant for New Staff from City University of Hong Kong (Project No. 7200123). The author would also like to express gratitude to the student assistants at City University of Hong Kong for their assistance with the data collection process.


  • Collective action
  • Collective interest model
  • Housing management activism
  • Rational choice
  • Resident participation


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