An Inquiry on Trade Associations and Other Meta-Organizations
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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