The Link between Social Movements and Corporate Social Initiatives: Toward a Multi-Level Theory
47 Pages Posted: 8 Mar 2016 Last revised: 5 Mar 2021
Date Written: February 10, 2016
This article offers a first step towards a multi-level theory linking social movements to corporate social initiatives. In particular, building on the premise that social movements reflect ideologies that direct behavior inside and outside organizations, this essay identifies mechanisms by which social movements induce firms to engage with social issues. First, social movements are able to influence the expectations that key stakeholders have about firms' social responsibility, making corporate social initiatives more attractive. Second, through conflict or collaboration, they shape firms' reputation and legitimacy. And third, social movements' ideologies manifest inside corporations by triggering organizational members' values and affecting managerial cognition. The essay contributes to the literatures on social movements and CSR, extends understanding of how ideologies are manifested in movement-business interactions, and generates rich opportunities for future research.
Keywords: social movements, social movement organizations, activism, corporate social initiatives, CSR, corporate social responsibility, ideology, multilevel theory
JEL Classification: M00
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