“We Really Have to Hit Them Where It Hurts”: Analyzing Activists’ Corporate Campaigns

  • Chelsea Woods Virginia Tech
Keywords: Activist organizations, Anti-corporate activism, Issues management, Corporate campaign, Social movements


Despite a surge in activism efforts directed at corporations, extant research largely overlooks how activist organizations craft and implement their campaigns. To address this gap, this article applies issues management to examine the process used by activist organizations to pressure target corporations into altering practices and policies that they perceive to be problematic. Using a qualitative approach, this study draws from interviews with 21 activist practitioners, which are supplemented by organizational documents and news articles. This study introduces the Corporate Pressure Process Model, which depicts and describes the various phases of activists’ corporate campaigns, including how these groups determine what threat is most appropriate and select coordinating tactics. Based on the findings, this article also outlines implications for activist organizations and their target corporations.


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