Sub-theme 25: The Political Organization of Markets: Social Movements, Stakeholders and Non-market Strategy

Frank den Hond
Hanken School of Economics, Helsinki, Finland
Forrest Briscoe
Pennsylvania State University, USA
Jocelyn M. Leitzinger
University of Michigan, USA

Call for Papers

Markets reflect political interests as much as economic efficiency. They are shaped through the actions and interactions of powerful firms, regulators, civil society organizations and other parties seeking to advance their shifting interests. Recently, organizational scholars have (re)turned to the role of social movements in this milieu, exploring the ways that movements instigate and propel change in markets through their interactions with firms and their varied stakeholders. From labor activists advancing worker rights, to environmentalists pressing for cleaner technologies, social movements appear to have impacted a range of global markets, industries and firm practices related to themes of ‘responsibility,’ ‘sustainability,’ ‘diversity,’ and ‘worker rights,’ to name but a few.
This sub-theme specifically focuses on the interventions and struggles that take place as social actors endeavor to shape firm and market behavior in order to address injustices. Our focus is on integrating the various scholarly traditions in this space, providing insight into how social movement actors, the companies they target, and other stakeholders (including civil society organizations, legislators and regulators) interact to negotiate the process of social change. We plan to explore current linkages across the research in this space, examine new scholarly efforts, and collaborate on a future research agenda.
We encourage the submission of diverse empirical and theoretical papers, including (but not limited to) those addressing the following areas:
Contentious activism

  • How do different types of contentious tactics matter?
  • Which non-market strategies do firms use to counter or neutralize contentious action?
  • How does contention impact the firm’s other stakeholders?
  • How do firms learn from their rivals’ contentious interactions?
  • What about corporate-sponsored and -instigated contention?

Cooperation between movements and firms

  • What are the consequences of co-optation for firms and movements?
  • How is conflict resolved through cooperation between movements and firms?
  • How do multiple cooperations between firms and movements emerge and compete within industries? What is the role of the state in these interactions and relationships?

Creating market alternatives

  • How do social movements, challenger firms, or incumbent firms leverage the state in struggles over new market emergence?
  • How do firms “play on two chessboards” involving both civil society and government?

Insider activism

  • What tactics do employees use to effect change internally within firms?
  • How do these employee-led movements interact with other firm stakeholders, such as shareholders and regulators?
  • What are the consequences of these efforts?

Expanding the settings

  • Many studies have focused on markets and industries within the U.S. or a single European country. Yet institutional and cultural differences across countries are likely to condition the way movements, firms, and stakeholders interact. We welcome comparative studies, especially those in Asian, African and South American contexts.

Collective action fields

  • How can we capture multiple types of actors and interactions in our studies?
  • What role do third-parties play?
  • Can we map networks across different types of actors to shed light on field dynamics?

Direction of impact

  • Most research has examined effects on markets and firms. What are the effects on movements, other stakeholders, and governments?

Learning from failure

  • We often study cases of successful change. But what can we learn from studying failed ones?
  • What do firms, movements, or other stakeholders learn from failures?
Frank den Hond is the Ehrnrooth Professor of Management and Organization at the Hanken School of Economics, Helsinki, Finland, and Editor-in-Chief of ‘Organization Studies’. He has a broad research interest that includes CSR, social movements & institutional change; CPA & CSR; business ethics; and partial organization.
Forrest Briscoe is an Associate Professor of Management and Frank and Mary Jean Smeal Research Fellow at the Smeal College of Business, Pennsylvania State University, USA. He conducts research in three areas: organizational change and corporate social responsibility (CSR); employment practices and careers; and professional organizations.
Jocelyn M. Leitzinger is a post-doctoral research fellow at McGill University, Canada, and a visiting scholar at the Erb Institute at the University of Michigan, USA. Her research lies at the intersection of social movements and markets, examining the role that activists play in facilitating the emergence of new industries and practices, as well as how incumbent firms strategically respond to such pressures.