Course 2012-2013 a.y.



Department of Management and Technology

Course taught in English

Go to class group/s: 31
CLMG (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/07) - M (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/07) - IM (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/07) - MM (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/07) - AFC (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/07) - CLAPI (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/07) - CLEFIN-FINANCE (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/07) - CLELI (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/07) - ACME (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/07) - DES-ESS (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/07) - EMIT (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/07)
Course Director:

Classes: 31 (I sem.)

Course Objectives

Much of the social change we have witnessed during the last several decades can be attributed to social movements, large and small, such as the civil rights movement, the environmental movement, the women’s movement, the gay rights movement, the coalition of groups opposed to smoking, the animal rights movement, movements against globalization or genetically modified foods and those that promote human rights, international labor standards or the recently Occupy Wall Street.

In affecting civil societies - the way individuals think and act - many of these social movements also have a large impact on markets by reducing the legitimacy of some industries (e.g. the tobacco industry), by creating new industries and niches (e.g. the organic food industry or the open source software) or by redesigning some parts of the firms’ local and global value chains (e.g. moving some activities to countries that respect human rights basic standards or - as in the case of the slow food movement - close to some original and authentic communities).

Against this backdrop, the goals of this course are to develop the conceptual foundations, frameworks and methods for analyzing the intersection between social movements and firms’ competitive arena, by focusing on the strategic responses of companies to the redefinition of existing markets and industries linked to social movements’ challenges and demands. More specifically, the course addresses three large and interrelated questions: How do social movements’ demands for change affect the evolution of existing markets and the creation of new industries? How companies respond to those changes? And finally, how companies target or seek to influence social movements in order to affect the existing configuration and evolution of the competitive arenas to their advantage?

Course Content Summary

The course is organized around three main sections. In the first section (Conceptualizing social movements), students are introduced to the analysis of social movements: the different kinds of social movements; how they develop; how they are organized; their strategy and evolution. In the second section (Regime change), we explore the relations between different social movements and competitive arenas: the origins of critique and transformation of industry and economic regimes; the movements’ processes in the creation of new industries and categories; the construction of new entrepreneurial forms and the legitimation of institutional and competitive alternatives. In the final section (Companies’ options and responses), we analyze the strategic options of companies to the regime changes fostered by social movements: the corporations as targets, opponents or participants in movements; the interplay of movements with organizational identities, images, and reputations; how companies mobilize resources, networks and audiences for the construction of new competitive arenas and new entrepreneurial identities.

Detailed Description of Assessment Methods

Attending students

Are evaluated on three components: 

  • individual participation;
  • group presentation of assigned cases and/or group projects;
  • final written exam .

Non-attending students

Are evaluated on the final written exam.

Details regarding reading materials and assessment methods are given at the beginning of the course and specified in the extended syllabus available in the Personal Page (Teaching section) of Prof. Perretti on the Bocconi website.


  • D.A. Snow, S.A. Soule, A Primer on Social Movements. Norton & Company, 2010.
  • H. Rao, Market Rebels. Princeton University Press, 2008.
  • Selected readings and cases.
Exam textbooks & Online Articles (check availability at the Library)
Last change 15/05/2012 17:23