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Market Rebels: How Activists Make or Break Radical Innovations Hardcover – December 21, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (December 21, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691134561
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691134567
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 5.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,025,485 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Rao, professor of organizational behavior and human resources at Stanford University, explores the role of collective action in promoting or hindering business innovation. Drawing heavily on theories of social movements, the author posits a cycle of hot causes, unexpected events or innovations, and cool mobilization, activities that channel emotional responses into popular mass actions that anchor new identities embracing or rejecting the hot cause. Rao presents several case studies in which activist behavior either encouraged or impeded the creation and expansion of new markets, technologies or new organizational structures. For example, early 20th-century automobile enthusiasts were able to placate fears about car safety (the hot cause) by staging hundreds of reliability contests that demonstrated the car's safety and practicality to a wide audience (the cool mobilization). Though dryly written and repetitive, the case studies themselves are fascinating and challenge traditional economic models that privilege individual consumer choice while ignoring broader social mobilizations. A final chapter offers advice and strategies for would-be market rebels looking to harness collective action, making this book a useful resource for both citizen activists and corporate leaders and marketers seeking popular support for their products. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"The case studies . . . are fascinating and challenge traditional economic models that privilege individual consumer choice while ignoring broader social mobilizations. A final chapter offers advice and strategies for would-be market rebels looking to harness collective action, making this book a useful resource for both citizen activists and corporate leaders and marketers seeking popular support for their products."--Publishers Weekly



"Market Rebels uses the grassroots movement that led to the widespread acceptance of the motor car as the starting point for a series of brief case studies that look at 'how activists make or break radical innovations.'"--Jonathan Birchall, Financial Times



"Rao highlights social movements as underappreciated factors in the market successes of so-called 'radical innovations.' Through well-crafted, intriguing case studies that include the rise of automobiles, microbrewing, nouvelle cuisine, and personal computers, he shows how mobilized activists influence the acceptance of innovations, be they technological, cultural, or structural. . . . Rao's scholarly publications, related to his experience as an organizational sociologist, provide the foundation for this lively, highly accessible volume, which he explicitly directs to the broad public and especially to businesspeople seeking to advance their own innovations."--Choice



"In this volume, Hayagreeva Roa, the Atholl McBean professor of organizational behaviour and human resources at Stanford University's graduate school of business, provides a perspective on the evolution of markets that is largely absent from traditional economic and business literature."--Micheal J. Kelly, Ottawa Business Journal



"The narrative of economic growth is always one of challenges to established interests, In this sense, Rao's book appears at just the right time, when questions about whether and how to bail out entrenched interests--carmakers, financial conglomerates--are persistent."--Carl Schramm, Stanford Social Innovation Review



"[Rao] does provide an insight that should be valuable for both economic and business historians. . . . [His] points . . . deserve to be taken seriously by economic historians as well as by sociologists."--Paul L. Robertson, Australian Economic History Review


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By R. M. Sokoloff on February 9, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book reminded me of an event that took place about ten years ago, when Starbucks came to town and parked their store right next door to my favorite coffee shop in Westport. I thought it would be the end of the best café mocha in town.

Local merchants reacted as though the neighborhood was being invaded. They banded together, posted flyers in their windows, talking to and encouraging local residents to buy from locally owned businesses. It's what Rao describes in his book as "a Hot Cause," an event that stimulates the emotions of people and creates new meaning. Suddenly, at the local coffee shop, we weren't just buying coffee, we were engaging in acts of community loyalty. The local business owners had successfully created what Rao calls a "community of feeling" and through a "cool mobilization" they got merchants and neighbors engaged in actively supporting the Broadway Café' and protesting the opening of a "corporate" coffee shop. The campaign worked so well that the local coffee shop saw their business actually improve after Starbucks moved in right next door.

Rao's book wraps an absorbing, storytelling approach around solid, academic research showing how activists have been the key to the popularization of the automobile (and all this time I thought Henry Ford was solely responsible), the development of the personal computer, the successes, failures, and persistence of chain stores, and the spawning of microbreweries in the U.S.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Robert I. Sutton on January 14, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Professor Rao has written a compelling, evidence-based,and remarkably useful book. As I wrote on my blog[...]:

The book is full of useful ideas, but perhaps the central one is that, if you want to mobilize networks of people and markets to embrace and spread an idea, you need the one-two punch of a "Hot Cause" and "Cool Solutions." A hot cause like deaths from tobacco or medical errors can be used as springboards to raise awareness, spark motivation, and ignite red-hot outrage. And naming these as enemies is an important step in mobilizing a network or market. But creating the heat isn't enough; the next step needs to be cool solutions. This doesn't just mean identifying technically feasible solutions, it also means finding ways to bind people together, to empower them to take steps that help solve the problem, and to create enduring commitment to implementing solutions.
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Format: Hardcover
In the introduction to this book, author Hayagreeva Rao mentions that some sections have appeared in academic journals, but that he's "rewritten [them] for the general reader rather than the specialist in organizational sociology." May all such revisions be so smoothly executed! This fast-paced read features clear concepts and lively prose. Rao examines the role of social activists, especially engaged groups, in the fate of innovation. In doing so, he provides new perspectives on markets and documents that social engagement precedes shifts in the market. He educates readers about the techniques that such activists use, offering several radically different case studies, including the auto industry, microbrews and trends in French cooking. getAbstract recommends Rao's book to anyone involved in innovation or marketing, as well as to students of cultural change.
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Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent book for anyone with an interest in social movements -- seeing how "hot causes" incite people to come together and engage in "cool mobilization" to influence markets. This is a very practical book and an interesting read for anyone who is engaged in community organization, responding to activists, or changing markets through social means. Rao gives many great examples ranging from the early automobile industry to microbrewing to nouvelle cuisine, which certainly keeps the reader's attention and interest. It is also a great book from an academic standpoint, giving a fabulous overview of the research on social movements, of which Rao himself is one of the major renowned contributors, yet in a very accessible way. Overall an outstanding book and one I highly recommend.
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