Many attempts to understand the conversion process have been guided by Lofland and Stark's (1965) "process-mode." We examine ten case studies of the conversion process in diverse groups in order to specify the conditions under which the Lofland-Stark model applies. Several components of the model are rejected for conceptual reasons. Other components are to be found in some types of groups but not in others. Only "formation of affective bonds with group members" and "intensive interaction with group members" seem to be indispensable prerequisites for conversion. Thus, any group which is to successfully convert people must be structured so as to foster interaction among group members. Because there is no one process·model that can accurately account for all cases of conversion, the process· model approach should be abandoned in favor of "subjective" and "organizational" approaches to understanding conversion.
Sociological Focus, Vol. 17, No. 4 (October 1984), pp. 305-323.