Katarzyna (Kate) Odziemkowska (Working), Frenemies: Partner Selection in Firm-Activist Collaborations.
Abstract: This study examines the benefits and risks social activists and firms face in collaborating against a backdrop of conflictual relations. While conflict is widely thought to crowd out collaboration, in research on movements and firms, contentious targeting (i.e., protests, boycotts) is thought to drive firms to seek out collaborations with activists to quell costly conflict. This paper argues and finds that the emphasis on the symbiosis between conflict and collaboration from the firm’s perspective, overlooks the tension activists face in collaborating with ‘enemies’ of the broader movement. I explore this tension in a novel 25-year panel dataset of all contentious and collaborative interactions between 118 U.S.-based environmental movement organizations and 300 of the largest firms in the U.S., complemented by network data on movements. Contrary to existing research on target selection for contention, which focuses on firm characteristics exogenous to the movement, I argue partner selection for collaboration is driven by the dynamics and structure of the social movement itself. Importantly, firm-activist collaborations are more likely to form in movements where contentious and collaborative factions share more social relations. In such movements, collaboration is a legitimate means by which to advance the movement’s goals. While intuitively we may think activists will avoid collaborating with enemies of their friends because of a desire to maintain social bonds, it is precisely in the absence of those social bonds that social movements and firms fail to exploit complementarities between contention and collaboration.
Abstract: In this paper, we explore the mechanisms of indirect co-optation, asking whether and under what circumstances firms that collaborate with activists face less contention from other activists. To shed light on this question, we employ a unique, self-constructed 10-year panel of all contentious and collaborative interactions between 118 environmental social movement organizations and a random sample of 150 of the largest firms in the United States. We find that indirect co-optation of the broader activist field occurs via two pathways: signaling and relational. First, as evidence of signaling, we find that collaborating with a more contentious activist produces more indirect co-optation, as these collaborations provide a stronger signal of the firm’s authentic support of the movement. Second, as evidence of relational indirect co-optation, we find that firms face less contention from activists that are board-interlocked with the activist with whom the firm collaborates. Our findings demonstrate the importance of considering the influence that firm-activist collaborations have outside the focal dyad in shaping the firm’s relationship with a broader movement. They also offer a broader view of the indirect effects of interactions between social activists and firms, inclusive of those resulting from cooperative private politics, a heretofore understudied phenomenon.
Abstract: We explore the extent to which cross-national variation in firm-level corporate social performance (CSP) can be explained by differences in the position or attributes of environmental and social stakeholders in the media-reported structure of socio-political networks across countries. We argue that managers perceive these differences as material because they heighten the risk of either institutional change at the national-level or direct material conflict targeting their firm. Our work represents a significant theoretical shift in research exploring comparative CSP, which to date has focused on cross-national variation in the institutional environment. Drawing on field theory, we argue that the prominence of environmental and social stakeholders within a country’s overall socio-political network and the heterogeneity of such stakeholders are associated with managerial perceptions of the probability of institutional change. Managers also respond to the threat of direct pressure as evidenced by material mobilization by stakeholders who had previously focused their attentions on discourse with other stakeholders. We also argue and find that the effects of these variables on CSP are moderated by characteristics of the stakeholder and business fields which constrain or enable stakeholders’ institutional vs. extra-institutional mobilization. We draw upon a novel dataset of 250 million media-reported events to construct comprehensive national socio-political networks as well as fields of stakeholders with interests in environmental and social issues as well as fields of corporations. We empirically demonstrate that both across country, and within country variation across time, in our stakeholder and corporate-level field constructs are associated with changes in CSP by individual firms among a sample of 3,563 firms spanning 42 countries.
Sinziana Dorobantu and Katarzyna (Kate) Odziemkowska (Working), Contracting Beyond the Market: Property Rights, Externalities, Historical Conflict, and Contractual Agreements between Firms and Nonmarket Actors.
Abstract: Despite firms’ growing engagement of nonmarket stakeholders, little attention has been devoted to understanding the emergence of contractual relationships between firms and nonmarket stakeholders. Considering that a very large number of contractual agreements with nonmarket actors are theoretically possible but only a small number of such contracts are observed, we seek to understand what factors explain the use of contracts to govern some firm-stakeholder relationships and not others. We ground our inquiry in transaction cost economics where governance is seen as a means to infuse order into a relation where potential conflict threatens value creation, and theorize three dimensions of a firm-stakeholder relationship that influence the potential for conflict: the property rights, externalities and history of conflict that characterize a firm-stakeholder relationship. We situate our inquiry in the Canadian mining sector and examine firm’s relationships to proximate indigenous communities to identify a plausible exhaustive set of stakeholders “at risk” of signing a contract with a firm, leverage the historical assignment of property rights, and to control for institutional-level factors that may drive stakeholder contracting. We find support for our propositions by examining which of the 4,414 dyads (involving 457 indigenous communities and 85 mining firms) have signed 190 contracts with between 1999 and 2013.
Sinziana Dorobantu and Katarzyna (Kate) Odziemkowska (2017), Valuing Stakeholder Governance: Property Rights, Community Mobilization, and Firm Value, Strategic Management Journal, 38 (13), pp. 2682-2703. 10.1002/smj.2675
Abstract: While research has shown that good stakeholder relations increase the value of a firm, less is known about how specific types of stakeholder governance affect firm value. We examine the value of one such governance mechanism — community benefits agreements (CBAs) signed by firms and local communities — intended to minimize social conflict that disrupts access to valuable resources. We argue that shareholders evaluate more positively CBAs with local communities with strong property rights and histories of institutional action and extra-institutional mobilization because these communities are more likely to cause costly disruptions and delays for a firm. We evaluate these arguments by analyzing the cumulative abnormal returns associated with the unexpected announcement of 148 CBAs signed between mining companies and local indigenous communities in Canada.
We all spend much of our lives in organizations. Most of us are born in organizations, educated in organizations, and work in organizations. Organizations emerge because individuals can't (or don't want to) accomplish their goals alone. Management is the art and science of helping individuals achieve their goals together. Managers in an organization determine where their organization is going and how it gets there. More formally, managers formulate strategies and implement those strategies. This course provides a framework for understanding the opportunities and challenges involved in formulating and implementing strategies by taking a "system" view of organizations,which means that we examine multiple aspects of how managers address their environments, strategy, structure, culture, tasks, people, and outputs, and how managerial decisions made in these various domains interrelate. The course will help you to understand and analyze how managers can formulate and implement strategies effectively. It will be particularly valuable if you are interested in management consulting, investment analysis, or entrepreneurship - but it will help you to better understand and be a more effective contributor to any organizations you join, whether they are large, established firms or startups. This course must be taken for a grade.