Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

The United States is currently struggling to resolve a number of highly contentious and potentially society-changing dilemmas, such as "gay" marriage, human genetic engineering, and universal healthcare. Rather than offer some ethical rubric with which to measure the moral worth of the particular contentions themselves, I attempt to resolve these dilemmas by examining the governmental/societal decision-making context in which they occur. Research into controlling versus autonomy-supportive environments suggests that the U.S. government, and subsequently the society, may be characterized as controlling. Research also shows that needs satisfaction, motivation, and decision-making performance tend to be diminished in a controlling environment and enhanced in an autonomy-supportive environment, suggesting that our nation's difficulty in solving contentious social dilemmas lies in its controlling approach to national decision-making. I adapt the elements of the person-centered facilitative administrative style and the autonomy-supportive environment to govemment, which I call government as facilitator, in hopes of creating a model of society in which citizens can be truly self-determined in meeting their needs and solving their own social dilemmas. I propose empirical means of studying the effects of government styles on societies.

Advisor(s) or Committee Chair

Dr. Kathi Miner-Rubino

Disciplines

Social and Behavioral Sciences