Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Why some firms are 'named and shamed' by activists: Research looks at anti-sweatshop campaigns of the 1990s

Date:
July 15, 2014
Source:
Ohio State University
Summary:
A new study of the anti-sweatshop campaigns of the 1990s reveals which companies are most likely to become targets of anti-corporate activists. Researchers found that companies tended to attract the attention of labor activists if they were large, had prominent brand images, or had good corporate reputations. When combined, these factors were especially important.

A new study of the anti-sweatshop campaigns of the 1990s reveals which companies are most likely to become targets of anti-corporate activists.

Researchers found that companies tended to attract the attention of labor activists if they were large, had prominent brand images, or had good corporate reputations. When combined, these factors were especially important.

“Companies that had all of these characteristics were nearly guaranteed to be a target of activism,” said Tim Bartley, lead author of the study and associate professor of sociology at The Ohio State University.

“Social movements are increasingly pressuring companies to act in socially or environmentally responsible ways, so we wanted to see which companies are most likely to be pushed into this role. Nearly all of the large firms in the apparel industry of the 1990s could be credibly charged with benefiting from sweatshops, but only a small subset were named and shamed by activists.”

“Nearly all of the large firms in the apparel industry of the 1990s could be credibly charged with benefiting from sweatshops, but only a small subset were named and shamed by activists.”

Bartley said the results suggest that activists chose companies whose visibility in the public and overall good reputation might make them more “shameable” than other firms. “Activists have enthusiastically adopted the strategy of trying to turn corporate strengths into vulnerabilities.”

The researchers focused on 151 large U.S. lead firms in the apparel, textile and footwear industries. They looked for evidence of anti-sweatshop activism from 1993 to 2000 that was reported in major trade journals.

Bartley conducted the study with Curtis Child of Brigham Young University. Their results appear online in the journal American Sociological Review and will be published in the August print edition.

One surprise was that globalization didn’t seem to play a role in which firms were targeted, Bartley said. Companies that relied heavily on foreign factories were not necessarily more likely to attract activism than firms with less of a global reach.

“Anti-sweatshop activism wasn’t as much a backlash against globalization as it has been portrayed,” he said.

Bartley said the tactics used by activists against apparel firms in the 1990s are now being used against the electronics industry today. He believes many of the results found here would apply to today’s activism.

But will it have an effect on the companies?

In a previous study, Bartley found that anti-sweatshop activism did lead to lower sales for specialized apparel and footwear brands, and that major anti-sweatshop events hurt corporate stock prices, at least for a while.

“Companies are realizing that not every campaign against them will make a dent, but some of them will,” Bartley said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Ohio State University. The original article was written by Jeff Grabmeier. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. T. Bartley, C. Child. Shaming the Corporation: The Social Production of Targets and the Anti-Sweatshop Movement. American Sociological Review, 2014; DOI: 10.1177/0003122414540653

Cite This Page:

Ohio State University. "Why some firms are 'named and shamed' by activists: Research looks at anti-sweatshop campaigns of the 1990s." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 July 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140715141349.htm>.
Ohio State University. (2014, July 15). Why some firms are 'named and shamed' by activists: Research looks at anti-sweatshop campaigns of the 1990s. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140715141349.htm
Ohio State University. "Why some firms are 'named and shamed' by activists: Research looks at anti-sweatshop campaigns of the 1990s." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140715141349.htm (accessed October 2, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Japan Looks To Faster Future As Bullet Train Turns 50

Japan Looks To Faster Future As Bullet Train Turns 50

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) Japan's bullet train turns 50 Wednesday. Here's a look at how it's changed over half a century — and the changes it's inspired globally. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
US Police Put Body Cameras to the Test

US Police Put Body Cameras to the Test

AFP (Oct. 1, 2014) Police body cameras are gradually being rolled out across the US, with interest surging after the fatal police shooting in August of an unarmed black teenager. Duration: 02:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Cases Keep Coming for Monrovia's Island Hospital

Ebola Cases Keep Coming for Monrovia's Island Hospital

AFP (Oct. 1, 2014) A look inside Monrovia's Island Hospital, a key treatment centre in the fight against Ebola in Liberia's capital city. Duration: 00:34 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
WH: We Can Stop Spread of Ebola in Its Tracks

WH: We Can Stop Spread of Ebola in Its Tracks

AP (Oct. 1, 2014) White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest reaffirmed the administration's confidence in the CDC's ability to keep the Ebola virus from spreading. (Oct. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins