Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 118, Issue 1, pp 189–202

Protest Campaigns and Corporations: Cooperative Conflicts?


DOI: 10.1007/s10551-012-1585-y

Cite this article as:
Kneip, V. J Bus Ethics (2013) 118: 189. doi:10.1007/s10551-012-1585-y


This article analyses and systematises the repertoires of action and reaction within conflicts between corporations and adversarial campaigns. Particular attention is paid to the parameters that turn conflicts between corporations and their critics into productive or destructive exchanges. Are protest campaigns able to fulfil a function that goes beyond serving as a seismograph for civil society’s concern and discontent? Which are the circumstances that enable conflicts between protest campaigns and corporations to unfold their potential for correcting social deficiencies? The analysis starts by outlining several typologies of confrontational and cooperative repertoires of action. Based on this starting point, a comprehensive analysis of more than 100 campaigns is presented, which systematises the dynamics of conflict between protest campaigns and corporations. An exemplary comparison of two particular conflicts completes the article in order to elaborate on the interplay between confrontation and cooperation.


Corporate responsibilityCorporate social responsivenessNon-governmental organisationsOrganisational changeSocial activism

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Frankfurt School of Finance & ManagementFrankfurt am MainGermany