Sub-theme 04: [SWG] Social Movements and Organizations: Outcomes and Secondary Effects

Jocelyn M. Leitzinger
University of Illinois at Chicago, USA
Panikos Georgallis
University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Forrest Briscoe
Pennsylvania State University, USA

Call for Papers

Organizational sociologists have long called for a deeper examination of the consequences of activist efforts. Starting in the late 1990s, scholars took a substantive interest in the outcomes of social movement action (e.g. Giugni, McAdam & Tilly, 1998; 1999; Bosi, Giugni & Uba, 2016). While the majority of this work has focused on policy outcomes (Amenta & Caren, 2004; Amenta et al., 2010), social movements have also been found to have a significant impact on cultural and biographical outcomes such as social norms, public opinion, social networks, and the lives of movement members (see Passy & Monsch, 2018; Van Dyke & Taylor, 2018 for reviews). Albeit initially neglected (Giugni & Grasso, 2018), economic outcomes are by now a key focus area in the study of social movement outcomes, as scholars have increasingly examined the intersection of social movements and markets (King & Pearce, 2010; Soule & King, 2015; Leitzinger, King & Briscoe, 2018).
In our third year of the EGOS Standing Working Group (SWG) 04 on Social Movements and Organizations, we too turn our attention to the consequences of social movement action. We welcome papers that explore the outcomes of activist organizing – especially those impacts that are often overlooked. These may include outcomes that have received less scholarly attention or those that constitute unintended or secondary effects.

Intended, Unintended, and Secondary Effects of Social Movements

Most research to date focuses on the immediate consequences of activism in relation to intended goals. In organizational research, this includes the effects of movements on market and industry emergence (e.g. Lounsbury, Ventresca & Hirsch, 2003; Sine & Lee, 2009; York, Hargrave & Pacheco, 2016; Lee, Ramus & Vaccaro, 2018), changes to firm or industry practices (e.g. Weber, Thomas & Rao, 2009; Zietsma & Lawrence, 2010; Landers, Roulet & Heugens, 2022), impacts on firm-level strategies and performance (e.g. Durand & Georgallis, 2018; King & Soule, 2007), and activist-driven organizational change (e.g. Briscoe & Gupta, 2016; Schifeling & Soderstrom, 2022).
But important changes to systems of authority and longstanding institutions may occur beyond the immediate aims and intentions of a social movement (Amenta & Young, 1999; Tilly, 1999; Andrews, 2002; Snow & Soule, 2010). Some of these changes may be unintended and can include unwanted or not asked for actions taken by targets (backlash, repression), or outcomes that represent impacts beyond the social movement’s original focus such as changes in political alignments (Snow & Soule, 2010). Social movement organizing can also lead to unintended consequences internal to the movement itself, as the activities that movement members engage in can result in internal conflicts that culminate in schisms, factions, or even dissolution of the movement (Snow & Soule, 2010). Finally, social movement organizing can set off a chain of actions and reactions, leading to secondary effects, tertiary effects, and so forth.
While social movement scholars have turned their attention to an expanded conception of what constitutes a social movement outcome, far less attention has been paid to these extended outcomes in organizational research. These outcomes, however, appear to be important. Mobilization against one market may inadvertently lead to the creation of another (Hiatt, Sine & Tolbert, 2009); social movement support for moral markets can contribute to greater organizational diversity, which hampers collective action (Georgallis & Lee, 2020); and impression management in response to activist attacks can have the secondary effect of making companies more receptive to challengers (McDonnell, King & Soule, 2015). Activist successes with targeted organizations can also inadvertently create new barriers for larger-scale change in organizational fields (Briscoe, Gupta & Anner 2015). Social movements, in the pursuit of their goals, engage with a variety of types of organizations – including members of the media, other activist organizations, firms, and government agencies – and these interactions can significantly impact social outcomes (Andrews, 2002; Reinecke & Ansari, 2021). Movement activism can also trigger dynamics within targeted organizations that were not foreseen or intended by activists (Weber & Waeger, 2017). What are the broader outcomes of such efforts?

With this sub-theme, we welcome contributions on the outcomes of social movements, especially their unintended and unanticipated effects. Possible questions include, but are not limited to:

  • How does the decision to collaborate with an organizational target impact a social movement organization? When and why might co-optation occur and how can it be avoided?

  • How might different types of organizations be differentially impacted by the organizing efforts of social movements? When are we likely to see positive versus negative outcomes?

  • To what extent do efforts to affect corporate strategy and performance translate to secondary societal impacts in their communities (e.g., reduced climate footprint or inequality)?

  • What are the unintended consequences of social movements’ involvement in moral markets and the broader discourse for the moralization of markets?

  • How are the careers of employees affected by movement participation, whether at their place of work or elsewhere?

  • How have new forms of media influenced the consequences of social movement organizing?

  • What methodologies can be used to identify, isolate, and study the unintended consequences and/or secondary effects that social movement organizing can have on organizations?

  • What other theoretical lenses and empirical contexts can shed light on the relationship between social movement organizing and organizational outcomes? For example:

    • In what ways do theories of entrepreneurship inform the relationship between social movements, entrepreneurial activity, and industry emergence?
    • What role do intra-organizational processes and attention structures play in filtering or redirecting movement efforts?
    • How can nonmarket strategy research contribute to our understanding of how organizations targeted by social movements may react in unexpected ways? And, what secondary effects might these unintended consequences have?
    • What can research on corporate political activity tell us about the unintended consequences and secondary effects of social movement organizing aimed at changing regulations governing firms?
    • How can agentic (e.g. collective action) and structural (e.g. political opportunity) accounts be combined to explain intended and unintended outcomes of activism support for moral markets?



  • Amenta, E., & Caren, N. (2004): “The Legislative, Organizational, and Beneficiary Consequences of State-oriented Challengers.” In: D.A. Snow, S.A. Soule & H. Kriesi (eds.): The Blackwell Companion to Social Movements. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishing, 461–488.
  • Amenta, E., Caren, N., Chiarello, E., & Su, Y. (2010): “The political consequences of social movements.” Annual Review of Sociology, 36, 287–307.
  • Bosi, L., Giugni, M., & Uba, K. (eds.) (2016): The Consequences of Social Movements. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Briscoe, F., & Gupta, A. (2016): “Social activism in and around organizations.” Academy of Management Annals, 10 (1), 671–727.
  • Briscoe, F., Gupta, A., & Anner, M.S. (2015): “Social activism and practice diffusion: How activist tactics affect non-targeted organizations.” Administrative Science Quarterly, 60 (2), 300–332.
  • Durand, R., & Georgallis, P. (2018): “Differential firm commitment to industries supported by social movement organizations.” Organization Science, 29 (1), 154–171.
  • Georgallis, P., & Lee, B. (2020): “Toward a theory of entry in moral markets: The role of social movements and organizational identity.” Strategic Organization, 18 (1), 50–74.
  • Giugni, M., & Grasso, M.T. (2018): “Economic Outcomes of Social movements.” In: D.A. Snow, S.A. Soule & H. Kriesi (eds.): The Wiley Blackwell Companion to Social Movements. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishing, chapter 26.
  • Giugni, M., McAdam, D., & Tilly, C. (eds.) (1998): From Contention to Democracy. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.
  • Giugni, M., McAdam, D., & Tilly, C. (eds.) (1999): How Social Movements Matter. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
  • Hiatt, S.R., Sine, W.D., & Tolbert, P.S. (2009): “From Pabst to Pepsi: The deinstitutionalization of social practices and the creation of entrepreneurial opportunities.” Administrative Science Quarterly, 54 (4), 635–667.
  • King, B.G., & Pearce, N.A. (2010): “The contentiousness of markets: Politics, social movements, and institutional change in markets.” Annual Review of Sociology, 36, 249–267.
  • King, B.G., & Soule, SA. (2007): “Social movements as extra-institutional entrepreneurs: The effect of protests on stock price returns.” Administrative Science Quarterly, 52 (3), 413–442.
  • Lander, M.W., Roulet, T.J., & Heugens, P.M.A.R. (2022): “Tempering Temperance? A Contingency Approach to Social Movements’ Entry Deterrence in Scottish Whisky Distilling, 1823–1921.” Academy of Management Journal, first published online on July 26, 2022,
  • Leitzinger, J., King, B.G., & Briscoe, F. (2018): “Introduction: Integrating research perspectives on business and society.” Social Movements, Stakeholders and Non-Market Strategy, 56, 1–18.
  • McDonnell, M.H., King, B.G., & Soule, S. A. (2015): “A dynamic process model of private politics: Activist targeting and corporate receptivity to social challenges. American Sociological Review, 80 (3), 654–678.
  • Passy, F., & Monsch, G.A. (2018): Biographical Consequences of Activism. In: D.A. Snow, S.A. Soule & H. Kriesi (eds.): The Wiley Blackwell Companion to Social Movements. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishing, 499–514.
  • Reinecke, J., & Ansari, S. (2021): “Microfoundations of framing: The interactional production of collective action frames in the occupy movement.” Academy of Management Journal, 64 (2), 378–408.
  • Schifeling, T., & Soderstrom, S. (2022): “Advancing Reform: Embedded Activism to Develop Climate Solutions.” Academy of Management Journal, first published online on November 23, 2021,
  • Soule, S.A., & King, B.G. (2015): “Markets, business, and social movements.” In: D. della Porta & M. Diani (eds.): The Oxford Handbook of Social Movements. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 696–708.
  • Van Dyke, N., & Taylor, V. (2018): “The Cultural Outcomes of Social Movements.” In: D.A. Snow, S.A. Soule & H. Kriesi (eds.): The Wiley Blackwell Companion to Social Movements. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishing, 482–498.
  • Weber, K., & Waeger, D. (2017): “Organizations as polities: An open systems perspective.” Academy of Management Annals, 11 (2), 886–918.
Jocelyn M. Leitzinger is an Assistant Professor of Management at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), USA. Her research interests lie at the intersection of social movements and markets, investigating how social movements spur practice change and facilitate the emergence of new market categories, as well as how firms and industries respond to this activist pressure in covert ways.
Panikos Georgallis is an Assistant Professor of Strategy at the Amsterdam Business School, University of Amsterdam (UvA), The Netherlands. His work has received several awards and grants, and is published in leading journals such as ‘Administrative Science Quarterly’, ‘Organization Science’, and ‘Journal of International Business Studies’. Panikos’ current research examines the development of moral markets, business-civil society interactions, and organizational responses to climate change.
Forrest Briscoe is a Professor of Management, and Frank & Mary Jean Smeal Research Fellow, at the Pennsylvania State University, USA. He has published research on institutional change, movements, diffusion, networks, careers, and inequality. He most recently published a paper on the technological entrainment of moral markets. Forrest is staying busy as the Division Chair Elect of the Organization & Management Theory (OMT) division of the Academy of Management.