Cascading Arenas - University of St Andrews

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Dec 1, 2012 (4 years and 10 months ago)

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1

BAM 2004 Conference


University of St
-
Andrews


Workshop:


C
ASCADING
A
RENAS
:

A

M
ULTILEVEL
P
ERSPECTIVE ON THE
R
ESOLUTION OF
G
ENETIC
M
ODIFICATION
I
SSUES




Jennifer J. Griffin

The George Washington University

2115 G Street, N.W.

Washington, DC 20052

USA

001
-
202
-
994
-
2536 phone

001
-
202
-
994
-
8113 fax

jgriffin@gwu.edu


Pursey P. M. A. R. Heugens
*

Utrecht School of Economics

Utrecht University

Vredenburg 138

3511 BG Utrecht

The Netherlands

0031
-
30
-
253
-
7108 phone

0031
-
30
-
253
-
7373 fax

p.heugens@econ.uu.nl


John F. Mahon

Maine Business School

University of Maine

5723 Corbett Business Building

Orono, ME 04469
-
5723

USA

001
-
207
-
581
-
1976 phone

001
-
207
-
581
-
1956 fax

mahon@maine.edu



Richard A. McGowan

Boston College

Fulton Hall 252

Chestnut Hill, MA

USA

001
-
617
-
552
-
3474 phone

001
-
617
-
552
-
0433 fax

mcgowan@bc.edu



Steven L. Wartick

College of Business Admini
stration

University of Northern Iowa

Cedar Falls, IA 50614
-
0125

USA

001
-
319
-
273
-
7225 phone

steve.wartick@uni.edu


Stephanie Welcomer

Maine Business School

University of Maine

5723 Corbett Business Building

Oron
o, ME 04469
-
5723

USA

001
-
207
-
581 3474 phone

001
-
207
-
581
-
1956 fax

mwelcomer@maine.edu












*

Corresponding author





2

C
ASCADING
A
RENAS
:

A

M
ULTILEVEL
P
ERSPECTIVE ON THE
R
ESOLUTION OF
G
ENETIC
M
ODIFICATION
I
SSUES


Synopsis:

In this works
hop a new conceptual framework is developed for the analysis of societal
and political issues with corporate implications. A key observation is that issues are
often simultaneously discussed, debated, and debunked in what we will call
cascading
arenas
: mul
tiple interrelated socio
-
political fields of resolution. We use the cascading
arena perspective to structure and analyze an international case study of the
introduction and reception of genetically modified foods, based on data collected in
the United Stat
es and the European Union.


Presentation 1:

Towards a new framework for issue analysis and resolution: Cascading arenas

Issues management is a well
-
developed concept in the field of business and society
(Bigelow
et al
., 1993; Mahon
et al
., 2004; Wartick &

Mahon, 1994). Issues are raised
by the firm or other actors that demand some sort of action and response. As an issue
forms, stakeholders gather around the issue. They may have multiple motivations for
involvement

ideology, revenge, substance

or be dragge
d into the issue by others.
What is often neglected in such analyses, however, is the context in which issue
contests take place. We call such contexts arenas, and define them as socially
recognized “places” where issues are resolved. These “places” includ
e the legislature,
courts, arbitrators, mediators, and “the court of public opinion.” Scholars have begun
to investigate how organizations and stakeholders select arenas for issue resolution
(Cobb & Elder, 1972; Edelman, 1988; Mahon & McGowan, 1996, 1998).

Their
tentative conclusion is that arena selection is driven by an assessment as to where the
stakeholder believes it has an advantage. What is missing in issue analysis is the
movement
across
transnational and arena borders. In this first presentation we

will
propose a theoretical model of cascading arenas, addressing specifically three
different arenas: local level (country level in EU, state level in US), regional level
(EU & US), and transborder international issues (across trading NAFTA and EU). We
no
te the broad characteristics of these arenas and address the processes by which
issues migrate up and down and across such arenas over time, using the genetically
modified organisms debate as an illustrative example of this process. We also offer
insights
for managers of organizations and public interest groups regarding strategies
with regard to cascading arena use

addressing how issues migrate across arenas,
tactics to block such migration, and how to deal with issues being debated
simultaneously in multi
ple arenas.


Presentation 2:

Cascading arenas and genetic modification: The European case

This second presentation addresses how the issue of genetic modification is perceived
in four European arenas


Nordic, Germanic, Anglo, and Latin Europe. Each arena
is
characterized by a unique set of (a) stakeholders, (b) stakeholder interests, (c) issue
resolution resources, and (d) sentiments with respect to issue resolution. Finland,
Norway, Sweden, and Denmark constitute the Nordic block. Scandinavian people are
relatively knowledgeable about biotechnology, and more likely than most to read
articles/watch television programs on the topic (Eurobarometer, 2000). The dominant
theme here is organic farming, where elements like “naturalness” of food production
and know
ledge of the origin of foods play important roles. Switzerland, Austria, and




3

Germany comprise Germanic Europe. Unlike other European regions, the Germanic
people interpret genetic modification first as a political (rather than moral or
technological) pheno
menon. Germanic Europeans are more likely than most to sign a
petition against modern biotechnology (Eurobarometer, 2000).

In Europe’s Anglo
block (United Kingdom and Ireland), there is controversy between the state and the
public concerning the desirabili
ty of genetic modification. The UK’s New Labour
government strongly supports modern biotechnology, mostly because it fits with the
party’s pro
-
globalization rhetoric and represents a prime example of an of Industry
that could be crucial to Britain’s econom
ic future (Barry, 1999). France, Spain,
Portugal, Italy, and Belgium belong to Latin Europe. Typically, European Latinos
know fairly little about biotechnology, and most will readily admit that they have
never discussed modern biotechnology with anyone (Eu
robarometer, 2000).


Presentation 3:

Cascading arenas and genetic modification: The U.S. case

In the US, four constituencies color the debate on genetic modification: business,
environment, consumers, and government. Understanding the debate within these
four
dimensions provides a snapshot of the biotechnology issue. In the 1990’s,
biotechnology began to cross industries and included chemicals, pharmaceuticals,
agriculture, and biotechnology firms. Companies combined these businesses into “life
sciences” (
e.g. Monsanto, Novartis). Competitive advantage was sought through
genetically engineered foods delivering health benefits, and lessening the use of
pesticides in production. Profits largely depend on international trade regulations
regarding biotechnology
. European resistance has an impact on American growers
who use modified crops and export to Europe. Selling modified crops does not end
with access via trade arrangements, however. Consumer attitudes are also central. In
the U.S., consumer attitudes are c
haracterized as accepting or unaware. In either case,
U.S markets have largely accepted the presence of modified food ingredients with
little public outcry. Yet, consumers have registered concern about the presence of
potentially dangerous allergens in foo
ds not commonly associated with the food, with
unknown risks, with containment of altered genes, and with risks to other species.


Presentation 4:

Cascading arenas of resolution: Managerial implications

Within the portfolio of issues embedded in the biote
chnology debate (Heugens,
Mahon & Wartick, 2004), a wide range of arenas of resolution and targeted audiences
exist. With multiple interests, varying levels of motivation, and differing resources to
advance their positions, decision
-
makers have developed a

complex calculus of issue
definitions, issue arenas, and targeted audiences (Mahon & McGowan, 1996). In this
closing presentation we examine the complex algorithm of costs and benefits
including issue definition, timeliness, and information networks manag
ers have
created to support their offensive and defensive strategies across arenas of resolution.
Implications for management are tied to the issue definitions, interests represented,
and timing of resolution within each arena. Time sensitivity, issue life

cycle,
institutional audience, desire for resolution, information asymmetry, venue shopping,
and broad vs. narrow positioning are each examined as important considerations in
strategically managing transnational issues in cascading arenas of resolution.







4

R
EFERENCES


Barry, J. 1998. GM food, biotechnology, risk and democracy in the UK: A sceptical
green perspective.

Keele University Working Paper
.

Bigelow, B., Fahey, L. and Mahon, J. 1993. A typology of issue evolution.
Business
& Society, 32:
18
-
29.

Cob
b, R. W., and Elder, C. D., 1973.
Participation in American Politics: The

Dynamics of Agenda Building.

Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.

Edelman, M. 1988.
Constructing the Public Spectacle
. Chicago and London:


University of Chicago Press.

Eurobarometer. 2
000.
The Europeans and Biotechnology
. Brussels: Directorate
-
General for Research of the European Union.

Heugens, P.P.M.A.R., Mahon, J. F. and Wartick, S. 2004. A portfolio approach to
issue adoption. Presented at the 15
th

annual International Association

for
Business and Society conference, March 2004.

Mahon, J. F., Heugens, P. M. A. R., and Lamertz, K., 2004. Social Networks and


Nonmarket Strategy.
Journal of Public Affairs
,
4
(2): forthcoming.

Mahon, J. F., and McGowan, R. A., 1996.
Industry as a pla
yer in the political and
social arena: defining the competitive environment.

Westport, CT: Quorum
Books.

Mahon, J. F., and McGowan, R. A., 1998. Modeling industry political dynamics.


Business and Society
,
37,

(4), December, 1998: 390


413.

Wartick, S
. L., and Mahon, J. F., 1994. Toward a substantive definition of the corporate


issue construct: A review and synthesis of the literature.
Business and Society
,


33
(3): 293

311
.