Differential Firm Commitment to Industries Supported by Social Movement Organizations


Organization Science

janvier-février 2018, vol. 29, n°1, pp.154-171

Départements : Stratégie et Politique d’Entreprise, GREGHEC (CNRS)

Mots clés : organization and management theory, strategy and policy, sustainability/corporate environmentalism, economic sociology, nonmarket/political environment

This article theorizes about and tests the conditions under which firms’ commitment to an industry is influenced by social movement organizations (SMOs) that favor the industry. We argue that the more prominent SMOs are within an industry, the more a firm increases its commitment to that industry by expanding its operations; yet, this main effect should be moderated substantially by a firm’s idiosyncratic characteristics. The current research predicts that a firm’s location, its sensitivity to information about the industry’s potential, and its history of associations with activists determine the magnitude of the effect of SMO prominence on its strategic commitment to the industry. We test and find support for these hypotheses using a longitudinal data set of European manufacturers of solar photovoltaic cells between 1990 and 2011. The findings offer new insights for literature on social movements and organizations, as well as strategic management research