Ripple Effects: How Collaboration Reduces Social Movement Contention

61 Pages Posted: 31 Jul 2019 Last revised: 12 Jan 2022

See all articles by Kate Odziemkowska

Kate Odziemkowska

University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management; Rice University - Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business

Mary-Hunter McDonnell

The Wharton School - The University of Pennsylvania

Date Written: January 11, 2022

Abstract

Research suggests firms can reduce stakeholder contention (e.g., lawsuits, protests) by collaborating with threatening stakeholders. We propose that by tapping into stakeholder networks and identities, collaborations also produce ripple effects beyond the firm’s partner to attenuate contention from a broader set of stakeholders. Using variation in firms’ and stakeholders’ willingness to collaborate exogenous to contention to account for selection, our examination of contentious and collaborative interactions between 136 environmental movement organizations and 600 U.S. firms corroborates our arguments. Firms face less contention when they collaborate with a better-connected stakeholder motivated to share affirming information about the firm, or with a more contentious and authentic stakeholder. Our findings generalize to stakeholder criticism beyond movement organizations, suggesting collaborations are powerful tools for fashioning less contentious environments.

Keywords: social movements, cross-sector collaborations, cooperation and conflict, co-optation

Suggested Citation

Odziemkowska, Kate and McDonnell, Mary-Hunter, Ripple Effects: How Collaboration Reduces Social Movement Contention (January 11, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3428050 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3428050

Kate Odziemkowska (Contact Author)

University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management ( email )

105 St. George Street
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3E6 M5S1S4
Canada

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.kateodziemkowska.com/

Rice University - Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business ( email )

6100 South Main Street
P.O. Box 1892
Houston, TX 77005-1892
United States

Mary-Hunter McDonnell

The Wharton School - The University of Pennsylvania ( email )

3641 Locust Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6365
United States

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