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Social movements, identity and disruption in organizational fields: Accounting for farm animal welfare

Josie McLaren and Tony Appleyard

CRITICAL PERSPECTIVES ON ACCOUNTING, 2022, vol. 84, issue C

Abstract: In this study we provide evidence on how accounting disclosures can motivate social movement organizations (SMOs) to create a new source of normativity in an organizational field, to impact upon firms through identity, image and culture. The source of normativity, the Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare (BBFAW), was created as a means of accounting for farm animal welfare by food companies. Working at the intersection of theories relating to organizational fields, social movements and organizational identity, we investigate how the SMOs create the conditions for change through their framing of farm animal welfare, collective action and the mobilization of resources. Ideas such as institutional agency and institutional control are introduced to explain the power dynamics that enable change. By interpreting the organizational field as a relational space, identity, self-interest and intermittently-active fields provide further constructs to explain behaviour. Evidence from BBFAW reports and publications demonstrates how the NGOs employed a multi-period strategy to effect change. A longitudinal company case study provides an illustration of the cascade of the movement, demonstrating that there is more than an alignment of accounting disclosures. New business opportunities arise, requiring a realignment of strategy, a redesign of organizational architecture and participation of stakeholders. We illustrate our findings through the creation of a framework which could be employed more widely to study of sources of normativity in a relational field. This paper shows that accounting disclosures have a role to play in creating a new normativity that generates social change.

Keywords: Animal welfare; Identity; Normativity; Organizational fields and social movements (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:crpeac:v:84:y:2022:i:c:s1045235421000290

DOI: 10.1016/j.cpa.2021.102310

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