20424 - SOCIAL MOVEMENTS AND THE COMPETITIVE STRATEGY OF FIRMS
CLMG - M - IM - MM - AFC - CLAPI - CLEFIN-FINANCE - CLELI - ACME - DES-ESS - EMIT
Course taught in English
Go to class group/s: 31
The organic food movement is redefining how some products should be produced and your company is not present in that segment. Would you advise entering such a segment, even if the supporters of the movement are against your company’s current activities? The CEO of a company expressed some personal opinions against the rights of homosexuals and, because of that, the LGBT movement has started an online protest to boycott its products and to damage its reputation. Which are the options to contain possible damages? If you were a competitor of such a company, would you be sympathetic to the claims of the homosexual movement and exploit this situation to your advantage? These are just few of the issues this course will explore.
In 2011, Time magazine recognized the actual importance of protests and social movements by naming person of the year The Protester, representing many global protest movements for example the Arab Spring, the Indignants Movement and Occupy Movement. Much of the social change we have witnessed during the last several decades can be attributed to social movements, such as the civil rights movement, the anti-nuclear movement, the environmental and the animal rights movement, the women’s movement, the gay rights movement, the coalition of groups opposed to smoking, against globalization or those that promote human rights and international labor standards.
In affecting civil societies - the way individuals think and act - many of these social movements also have a large impact on markets by reducing the legitimacy of some industries (e.g., the tobacco or the nuclear industry), by creating new industries and niches (e.g. the organic food industry or the open source software) or by targeting specific companies with coordinated boycott strategies, often online. Against this backdrop, the goals of this course are to develop the conceptual foundations, frameworks and methods for analyzing the intersection between social movements and firms’ competitive arena, by focusing on the strategic responses of companies to the redefinition of existing markets and industries linked to social movements’ challenges and demands. More specifically, the course addresses three large and interrelated questions: how do social movements’ demands for change affect the evolution of existing markets and the creation of new industries? How do companies are affected by those changes? And finally, how companies targeted by social movements respond to their claims and to their boycott actions?
The course is organized around three main sections. In the first section (Conceptualizing social movements), students are introduced to the analysis of social movements: the different kinds of social movements; how they develop; how they are organized; their strategy and evolution. In the second section (Companies’ options and responses), we analyze the strategic options of companies to the changes fostered by social movements: the corporations as targets, opponents or participants in movements; the effects of movements upon organizational identities, images, and reputations. In the final section (Regime change), we explore the relations between different specific social movements and competitive arenas: the movements’ efforts in creating and legitimizing new industries and segments, and how companies mobilize resources, networks and audiences for the construction of new entrepreneurial identities.
For attending students:
Attending students will be evaluated on three components:
- individual participation;
- group presentation of assigned cases and/or group project;
- final written exam.
Details regarding the assessment methods will be given at the beginning of the course and specified in the syllabus available in the e-learning platform.
Readings and cases (details regarding reading materials will be given at the beginning of the course and specified in the syllabus available in the e-learning platform).