How Business Organizes Collectively


How Business Organizes Collectively

An Inquiry on Trade Associations and Other Meta-Organizations

9781839106675 Edward Elgar Publishing
Hervé Dumez Institut Interdisciplinaire de l’Innovation (i3), CRG-École polytechnique, CNRS, IP-Paris and Sandra Renou, Université Paris-Est Créteil - IUT de Créteil-Vitry, France
Publication Date: 2020 ISBN: 978 1 83910 667 5 Extent: 160 pp
Collective action by firms is a central societal phenomenon, whereby firms set up specific devices, referred to by the authors as ‘Firms’ Collective Action Devices’ (FCADs). This timely book shows how the phenomenon has been studied in a variety of academic disciplines, including history, political science, economics, sociology, management and organization theory, and how FCADs are used in lobbying, and to tackle issues such as those related to the environment and human rights. The book uses the concepts of meta-organization and heterarchy to give a fascinating overview of firms’ collective action, investigate some little-known aspects of the phenomenon, and examine the impact of FCADs on the economy and democracy.

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Collective action by firms is a central phenomenon in society, seen for example in standards setting, multi-stakeholder initiatives, and in relation to climate change, environmental and human rights issues. This incisive book reveals how firms set up specific devices, referred to by the authors as FCADs (Firms’ Collective Action Devices), of which trade associations and chambers of commerce are the traditional forms, and investigates how firms organize themselves collectively, and their impact on the economy and democracy.

Delving deeply into previously under-explored aspects of collective actions by firms, using the concepts of meta-organization and heterarchy, the book combines and expands on insights from history, political science, economics, sociology, management and organization theory. It demonstrates empirically how FCADs function on the basis of compromise and consensus, and analyzes their forms of action, their organizational dynamics and their recent evolution.

This rigorous and pluridisciplinary evaluation of how businesses organize collectively will appeal to researchers and PhD students in organization studies and business management, as well as those in other disciplines who are interested in firms’ collective action. It will also be a useful resource for business practitioners, public servants and politicians in contact with firms’ collective action, and NGO members.
Critical Acclaim
‘This study is an important contribution to our knowledge of meta-organizations. Trade associations are more dynamic and important than is usually assumed. Dumez and Renou clearly show why trade associations are a theoretical and empirically fruitful area of research with great political significance, not least in global contexts. The theoretical analysis of trade associations as meta-organizations provides important new insights that are tested in an analysis of multi-stakeholder organizations.’
– Göran Ahrne, Stockholm Centre for Organizational Research, Sweden

‘In times when a small number of powerful corporations rule the global economy, it is easy to overlook the fact that firms act collectively through large organizations to protect their interests or define the rules of the game. What are the historical roots of these collective action organizations? What are the political and economic implications of their operations? How do they operate internally? How can we analyze them? Dumez and Renou systematically answer these questions in this groundbreaking study.’
– Marcelo Bucheli, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, US
Contents: Part 1 Firms collective action: A synoptic view 1. The emergence and evolution of business meta-organizations 2. On political and economic problems raised by business meta-organizations Part 2 Within trade associations and other meta-organizations 3. FCADs as a mix of heterarchy and hierarchy 4. Dynamic Analysis of a business meta-organization 5. The ways of acting of business meta-organizations 6. Other types FCADs Conclusion References Index

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