DILC Phase 2: Rising public attention and defensive industry responses

“Rising public attention and defensive industry responses”

Problem-related pressures: (1) The emergence of social movement organizations (SMOs) is an important dynamic in the second phase. SMOs engage in resource mobilization, the articulation of appealing frames and discourses, and public protest activities,which strengthen the urgency of demands and increase media attention.

Industry responses:

(1) Firms-in-industries begin to defend themselves against criticisms when media and public attention affect their ‘secondary involvement arena’. They are likely to engagein symbolic action, which “involves attempts to ‘frame’ an issue”(Mahon and Waddock, 1992: p. 27). They may use “de-dramatizing strategies” (Hilgartner and Bosk, 1988: p. 62) such as denying the existence of the problem, asserting that other matters are more urgent, highlighting uncertainties in the causality of the problem,dismissing the opposing camp as uninformed or irrational, suggesting that the situation or condition is natural, acceptable, or inevitable.

(2) Firms may also form a ‘closed industry front’ and create associations to protect collective interests of an entire industry(Fligstein and McAdam, 2012).

(3) When further denial of problems damages their credibility, industry actors may accept the existence of a problem and allocate some R&D resources towards incremental innovations that stay within the bounds of the existing regime. Firms may also use these innovation strategies for political purposes, arguing that regulations are not needed because they are already working on solutions.

(4) In response to rising public concerns, relative outsiders (new entrants, fringe actors, firms diversifying from other sectors, entrepreneurs) may start exploring radical technical alternatives.

(Geels and Penna, 2015: 71)

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