Lobbying the Corporation: Citizen Challenges to Business Authority

Lobbying the Corporation: Citizen Challenges to Business Authority

Lobbying the Corporation: Citizen Challenges to Business Authority

Lobbying the Corporation: Citizen Challenges to Business Authority

Excerpt

The idea for this book first occurred to me when I was a graduate student in the Department of Politics at Princeton University. In the course of writing a dissertation on the political and economic significance of contemporary changes in public attitudes toward the large corporation, I was struck by the novel form in which many public criticisms of the corporation had come to be expressed. Those seeking to change the policies and challenge the prerogatives of management were not confining their efforts to pressuring the government: they were taking many of their grievances directly to the firm. I documented and briefly analyzed this development, first in a chapter of my thesis and subsequently in a lengthy paper entitled "Contemporary Criticism of Business: The Publicization of the Corporation," presented at the 1973 Convention of the American Political Science Association. This book is an outgrowth of that essay.

The completion of this project was delayed two years, primarily by the researching and writing of Ethics and Profits: The Crisis of Confidence in American Business, which I coauthored with Leonard Silk. The delay proved fortuitous. By the mid-seventies, the impact of direct challenges to business had significantly increased from when I first identified them as a distinctive political phenomenon. This not only meant that far more material was available, but the persistence and steady expansion of citizen demands on business between 1973 and 1977 confirmed my earlier appraisal of their political significance. In the interval, I also had the invaluable experience of working closely with Leonard Silk, whose writing style provides a model of clarity and economy that I have tried to emulate.

In the course of researching the history of citizen challenges to business I frequently found myself my own subject. I recall, as a teen-ager, picketing the local branch of Woolworth's in New York City in order to show support for the sit-ins in the South, and as a graduate student, picketing recruiters for the Dow Chemical Corporation. Like a good many of my contemporaries, I refrained from buying Saran Wrap and went without eating grapes for several years. I also dimly recollect voting my three shares of General Motors stock in favor of the proxy proposals offered by "Campaign GM" in 1970 and 1971. I was not at the time aware that I was engaging in a new form of political expression; that awaited my role as a scholar.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.