Recent work suggests that movements can inflict material damage on their targets and shape categories of evaluation in organizational fields. Extending these ideas, in “Movements, Markets and Fields: The Effects of Anti-Sweatshop Campaigns on US Firms, 1993-2000” (free access) Tim Bartley & Curtis Child examine the effects of anti-sweatshop campaigns during the 1990s on sales, stock performance, reputation and specialized ratings of U.S. firms, using fixed-effects regression models and event study methods.
Their interesting analysis demonstrates that social movements can in some circumstances shape both the markets and fields that firms inhabit. Specifically, anti-sweatshop campaigns (1. had negative effects on sales (though only among certain types of firms), (2. influenced stock prices, and (3. shaped specialized ratings of corporate responsibility. They also diminished previously positive corporate reputations (to a modest degree) but did not radically alter reputational hierarchies in the business community.