Inter-firm convening and organisational power: How American multinationals mobilised the Venezuelan business community to adopt CSR practices, 1961–1967

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In the 1960s, political threats drove petroleum multinational corporations in Venezuela to deploy highly sophisticated defense strategies. The American industry leader, Creole, wanted the local business community to adopt corporate social responsibility (CSR) identities and practices as a buffer against state intervention and communist uprising. How would Creole instigate such field-level organisational transformation? By addressing this question through theoretically informed historical narration, I endeavour to extend institutional theory into the world of inter-firm mobilizations for institutional creation and change. Such mobilizations are organised through inter-firm convening: a mechanism through which organisations mobilise–based on the establishment of a special-purpose meta-organisation–to address external challenges by modifying collective identities, remodelling forms of organisation, and diffusing practices in their field. (In Venezuela, this meta-organisation was called Dividendo.) By using this centrally coordinated form of mobilisation, the project’s agenda setters can exert transformative influence on the identity and behaviour of potentially numerous other organisations. I discuss implications for the study of institutional work, organisational power, and global diffusion. The article promotes a corporate and management-centred perspective on CSR, Latin American, and Cold War historiography.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)478-509
Number of pages32
JournalBusiness History
Volume66
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2024

Keywords

  • Cold War
  • Institutional theory
  • Latin America
  • Venezuela
  • business associations
  • corporate social responsibility
  • institutional work
  • multinational corporations
  • organisational power

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)
  • History
  • Business and International Management

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