Recent decades have witnessed the proliferation of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the emergence of activism across a wide variety of issue areas. On topics ranging from human rights to labor conditions, NGOs and activists represent an increasingly important constituency in a firm's non-market environment. This article explores the different ways in which firms manage NGO pressure, noting instances of preemption, capitulation, and resistance. The article considers three case studies— Unocal, Nike, and Novartis—and evaluates a series of hypotheses about the economic and non-economic factors that drive variation in firms' responses to NGO activism.
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