The Structure of Corporate Political Action: Interfirm Relations and Their Consequences

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Overview

Are large American corporations politically unified or divided? This question, which has important implications for the viability of American democracy, has frustrated social scientists and political commentators for decades. Despite years of increasingly sophisticated research, resolution of the issue remains as elusive as ever. In this important new book, Mark S. Mizruchi presents and tests an original model of corporate political behavior. He argues that because the business community is characterized by both unity and conflict, the key issue is not whether business is unified but the conditions under which unity or conflict occurs. Adopting a structural model of social action, Mizruchi examines the effects of factors such as geographic proximity, common industry membership, stock ownership, interlocking directorates, and interfirm market relations on the extent to which firms behave similarly. The model is tested with data on the campaign contributions of corporate political action committees and corporate testimony before Congress. Mizruchi finds that both organizational and social network factors contribute to similar behavior and that similar behavior increases a group's likelihood of political success. This study demonstrates that rather than making their political decisions in a vacuum, firms are influenced by the social structures within which they are embedded. The results establish for the first time that the nature of relations between firms has real political consequences. The Structure of Corporate Political Action will be of interest not only to social scientists but to anyone concerned with the future of American democracy.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674843776
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/1992
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Mark S. Mizruchi is Barger Family Professor of Organizational Studies and Professor of Sociology and Business Administration at the University of Michigan.
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Table of Contents

Preface
1 Introduction 1
2 Pluralism and Its Discontents 14
3 What Is Business Unity? 33
4 A Structural Model of Corporate Political Behavior 53
5 Political Action Committees and Corporate Political Behavior 85
6 Political Campaign Contributions: Unity and Conflict 117
7 Business Testimony before Congress: Unity and Conflict 158
8 Differentiation across Industries: Within-Industry Integration and Political Success 178
9 From Dyad to System: Multiple Networks of Organizational and Political Relations 204
10 The Conditional Nature of Business Unity 235
Appendix: Data on Firms and Candidates 257
References 271
Index 289
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