Market Rebels: How Activists Make or Break Radical Innovations

Hayagreeva Rao, Author . Princeton Univ. $24.95 (205p) ISBN 978-0-691-13456-7

Rao, professor of organizational behavior and human resources at Stanford University, explores the role of collective action in promoting or hindering business innovation. Drawing heavily on theories of social movements, the author posits a cycle of “hot causes,” unexpected events or innovations, and “cool mobilization,” activities that channel emotional responses into popular mass actions that anchor new identities embracing or rejecting the hot cause. Rao presents several case studies in which activist behavior either encouraged or impeded the creation and expansion of new markets, technologies or new organizational structures. For example, early 20th-century automobile enthusiasts were able to placate fears about car safety (the hot cause) by staging hundreds of reliability contests that demonstrated the car's safety and practicality to a wide audience (the cool mobilization). Though dryly written and repetitive, the case studies themselves are fascinating and challenge traditional economic models that privilege individual consumer choice while ignoring broader social mobilizations. A final chapter offers advice and strategies for would-be market rebels looking to harness collective action, making this book a useful resource for both citizen activists and corporate leaders and marketers seeking popular support for their products. (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 11/24/2008
Release date: 01/01/2009
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 216 pages - 978-1-4008-2974-3
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