State Agency Discretion and the Radical Flank: An Examination of Stakeholder Opposition to Hydroelectric Facilities

Posted: 12 Jan 2021

See all articles by Jake B. Grandy

Jake B. Grandy

University of Arkansas - Walton College of Business

Shon R. Hiatt

University of Southern California - Marshall School of Business

Date Written: June 6, 2019

Abstract

Although scholarship has highlighted how stakeholders can influence firm outcomes, relatively few studies have examined how simultaneous different tactics can interact to impact firms. Critical to understanding this interaction is the radical flank effect, which asserts that the moderate and radical elements of social activist tactics can interact to either enhance or diminish a movement’s ability to accomplish its goals. However, not only is research unclear about when and whether radical flank will enhance or diminish activist influence, but it also says little about the institutional and organizational factors that may influence its effectiveness. We seek to address these limitations by examining stakeholder opposition to new facilities in the U.S hydroelectric power sector, from 1978-2014. Drawing upon management and political sociology studies, we argue that state regulatory discretion shifts the accountability for regulatory decision making in a manner that determines the direction of the radical flank effect on government-agency decision making. The results show that greater regulatory agency discretion enhances the radical flank effect, thereby enhancing stakeholders’ influence, while lower regulatory agency discretion reverses the radical flank effect, thereby diminishing their impact on organizational outcomes.

Keywords: stakeholder management, nonmarket strategy, institutional environment, radical flank, social movements

Suggested Citation

Grandy, Jake B. and Hiatt, Shon R., State Agency Discretion and the Radical Flank: An Examination of Stakeholder Opposition to Hydroelectric Facilities (June 6, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3725852

Jake B. Grandy (Contact Author)

University of Arkansas - Walton College of Business ( email )

191 N. Harmon Ave.
Bldg WJWH Suite 514
Fayetteville, AR 72701
United States

Shon R. Hiatt

University of Southern California - Marshall School of Business ( email )

701 Exposition Blvd
Los Angeles, CA California 90089
United States

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