How Business Organizes Collectively
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How Business Organizes Collectively

An Inquiry on Trade Associations and Other Meta-Organizations

Hervé Dumez and Sandra Renou

Collective action by firms is a central societal phenomenon, whereby firms set up specific devices, referred to by the authors as ‘Firms’ Collective Action Devices’ (FCADs). This timely book shows how the phenomenon has been studied in a variety of academic disciplines, including history, political science, economics, sociology, management and organization theory, and how FCADs are used in lobbying, and to tackle issues such as those related to the environment and human rights. The book uses the concepts of meta-organization and heterarchy to give a fascinating overview of firms’ collective action, investigate some little-known aspects of the phenomenon, and examine the impact of FCADs on the economy and democracy.
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Chapter 5: Dynamic analysis of a business meta-organization

Hervé Dumez and Sandra Renou


Since their inception, firms’ collective action devices (FCADs) have multiple activities, changing over time, each FCAD offering its members a particular “bouquet” of activities. Certain activities are prohibited by antitrust laws (exchange of information on prices or market share, coordination of strategies). Two activities are essential: the collection and processing of information and influence or lobbying. Both are intricate: information and knowledge are treated according to influence. There are few campaigns aimed at the general public. Influence is aimed at the level of the state (in all its components: ministers, parliamentarians, civil servants) and at the level of journalists, often specialized. It is operated at the level of a political subsystem. Dynamically, two phases must be distinguished. In the relational phase, information is regularly given to officials, ministers, parliamentarians, and journalists. The transactional phase is a time when the meta-organization can make the industry adopt a favorable measure or, on the contrary, must protect the industry from a measure that could have a direct negative impact on it.

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