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2 months ago
Write an essay on the positive and less than positive roles played by activist groups. Give specific examples of each of these roles. Use Greenpeace International as your focus of analysis.
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Business and Its Environment
Edition: 7th
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2 months ago
Activist groups play an important role in the nonmarket environment and therefore, choose different nonmarket strategies to raise issues and generate pressure. They play a positive role in alerting the management of a company to issues of concern to the public, mobilizing people to work toward important causes, exerting social pressure to change institutions, and finally, providing information to the public and government officials that influences public and private politics.
However, the strategies used by activist groups to attract the interest of the public and the media can have a less than positive effect on a company's image. Moreover, these strategies may require breaking the law of a country along with privacy of information. Activists often use naming and shaming. The objective of shaming is to harm the target firm by damaging its brand, its reputation, or the morale of its employees. Confrontational tactics used to organize corporate and market campaigns can generate considerable public attention and this frequent scrutiny by the media can harm a company's public image and brand reputation. Information provided in the media by activist groups is intended to both harm the target and create a degree of common knowledge and informal coordination among members of the public to mitigate a free-rider problem; that is, eliciting participation by the public.
These positive and less than positive roles played by activist groups can be understood through the case of Greenpeace, Shell and Brent Spar. Brent Spar was an offshore petroleum facility owned by Royal Dutch/Shell Group of companies and Greenpeace is the world's largest environmental group that was founded in 1971. With branches all over the world, a wide network of volunteers, and modern equipment as well as full-time staff, Greenpeace was quick to raise the issue of the legitimate disposal of Brent Spar. They attracted the German public's attention to deep-sea disposal issue and with high media coverage threatened Shell with loss of customers in Germany arguing that 85 percent of German motorists would participate in a boycott. In addition to this, Greenpeace activists managed to get on Brent Spar, off the shore of Greenland. After much action in public and in German parliament, the NGO finally managed to alter Shell's decision to dispose Brent-Spar in the sea.
However, it was later revealed that Greenpeace's campaign might have been based on incorrect facts about deep sea disposal. Also, estimates of oil sledge remaining on Brent Spar mentioned by Greenpeace were incorrectfor which they apologized. This case portrays the different roles played by an activist group. In addition to the positive role of an activist group in changing a company's agenda toward a more socially responsible one, confrontational tactics used by such groups can have a harmful effect on a company's image and brand reputation, if not done responsibly.
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