Corporate campaigns

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Corporate campaigns were developed in the mid twentieth century by activists and organizers such as Saul Alinsky, and honed in recent decades by labor unions and non-governmental organizations in the environmental, social justice and consumer movements. The goal of a corporate campaign is to publicize undesirable behavior or practices by a corporation through various strategies and tactics that can force change upon the company and thus allow the campaigning organization to claim a victory for its cause. At any given time organizations and even individual citizen activists are waging scores of corporate campaigns, some of which last for years, with varying results.

In 2003 the Business Ethics Network was founded by labor, environmental and social justice groups to build more effective corporate campaigns.

Books, Articles and Research About Corporate Campaigns

  • The Death of a Thousand Cuts [1], a 2000 book by business professor Jarol Manheim, is designed to help corporate leaders to understand and rebuff corporate campaigns.
    • According to its review on "A corporate campaign is an organized assault on the reputation of a company that has offended some interest group. Although corporate campaigns often involve political, economic, and legal tactics, they are centered around the media, where protagonists attempt to redefine the image--and undermine the reputation--of the target company. ... Key features of this outstanding new book include a thorough and clear explanation of what a corporate campaign is and how it differs from other more mundane "public relations" campaigns; a detailed examination of strategies and tactics that includes their historical development. Some of the more high profile target companies in recent years include Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Caterpillar, Campbell's Soup, Federal Express, General Dynamics, Home Depot, International Paper, K-Mart, Nike, Texaco, Walmart, Starbucks, and UPS; Hundreds of examples that help explain such contemporary events as the anti-sweatshop movement on college campuses, the living wage movement, and the protests against the World Trade Organization, International Monetary Fund, and World Bank; a lengthy appendix contains abbreviated descriptions of nearly 200 corporate campaigns waged by labor unions and various advocacy groups since the idea of the corporate campaign was first developed in the 1960's. [2]

Labor Unions and Activist Groups organizing Corporate Campaigns

Most of the organizations below are members of Business Ethics Network, a coalition-type effort begun in 2003 to strengthen corporate campaigns.

SourceWatch Resources

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