From Revolution to Revenue Stream: How Corporate Targets Co-opt Social Movement Attacks


About the Research

Research on social movements has shown that activist attacks on corporate targets can help to create new market opportunities. Because these opportunities tend to be oppositional to incumbent industries, theory posits that incumbents are unlikely to exploit these opportunities. However, we suggest that corporate targets might be able to leverage activist attacks to their own advantage. Drawing on a longitudinal study of commercial academic publishers’ responses to the Open Access Movement, we propose a theoretical model of how incumbent organizations can benefit from the market opportunities resulting from social movement attacks by manipulating powerful third-party stakeholders’ perception of alignment or misalignment with the corporate targets and social movement respectively. To do so, corporate targets first co-opt social movements’ frames by exploiting the distance between activists’ and powerful stakeholders’ concerns. Second, corporate targets redefine social movements’ claims to create new market opportunities that is aligned the powerful stakeholders’ concerns. Our paper moves beyond the current focus on how social movements create new, oppositional markets to consider how corporate targets co-opt social movement attacks to enhance their own market position.

About Anders Krabbe

Anders Dahl Krabbe is a Lecturer in Innovation and Entrepreneurship at King’s Business School. Anders’ research focuses on themes related to the commercialization of technology, often examined at the market or industry-level. In terms of methods, he opts for inductive, qualitative and mixed-methods approaches, often drawing on archival material. His research has been published or is forthcoming in Administrative Science Quarterly, Research Policy, Academy of Management Annals and Research in the Sociology of Organizations.

Date: Thursday 11 January, 2024

Time: 12:00-13:30 CET

Venue: Training Room (Zoom link provided to registered attendees)

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