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Title:Three essays on corporate responses to social movement activism
Author(s):Minefee, Ishva
Director of Research:Bucheli, Marcelo
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Bucheli, Marcelo
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Clougherty, Joseph; Leblebici, Huseyin; Mahoney, Joseph; Shah, Sonali
Department / Program:Business Administration
Discipline:Business Administration
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Organizational impression management
Social movement activism
Abstract:This three-essay dissertation addresses two central research questions: (1) ‘how do firms defend themselves when targeted by social movement activists?’ and (2) ‘why do firms respond differently to activists’ demands?’ Essay 1 is a single-case study of Royal Dutch/Shell’s rhetorical responses to anti-apartheid activists’ demands for the firm to divest from, or sever its ties to, South Africa in the late 1980s. Building on the findings from the first essay, Essay 2 is an examination of Coca-Cola, Inc.’s covert, or secret, funding of a front group that intended to defame the audiences (e.g., social activists, legislators) putting anti-soda pressures on the firm in the early 2000s. I address the second research question in Essay 3. Specifically, I develop and test theory regarding the factors that influenced American firms’ differential responses to anti-apartheid activists’ pressures for divestment from South Africa in the late 1980s. This dissertation contributes to the academic literature in the following ways. Essays 1 and 2 are the first examinations of defamation as a plausible strategy in firms “defensive repertoire” when they are targeted by external audiences such as social activists and legislators. Essay 3 is the first study to show that differences in firms’ substantive commitments to marginalized or repressed stakeholders in a host country influence the divestment decision. Overall, this dissertation offers new insight into the ways firms defend themselves as well as the factors that influence firms’ differential responses to social movement activism.
Issue Date:2017-07-13
Rights Information:Copyright 2017 Ishva Minefee
Date Available in IDEALS:2017-09-29
Date Deposited:2017-08

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