Escaping the Ellipsis of Diversity : Insider Activists’ Use of Implementation Resources to Influence Organization Policy

in Administrative Science Quarterly, 66 (2)

Buchter, Lisa (19..-....)

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Researchers have explored in depth how social movement actors strive to pass laws to change organizations exogenously or to demand that they make commitments or policy changes. But ensuring that organizations implement such commitments or policies is challenging. Insider activists may be influential for implementation processes, and I explore how they can increase that influence. I contend that insider activists influence such processes by offering their organizations implementation resources, ... such as free and ready-to-use content and model programs that reflect changes the activists want to see. To develop this argument, I explore how, starting in the mid-2000s, LGBT activists developed resources to ensure that diversity policies were increasingly relevant for sexual minorities in France. Many diversity policies at the time expressed commitment to “gender, disability, age . . .” Activists contended that nothing was done for the minorities who were not named—those left in the ellipsis (. . .) of diversity. Using web archives and interviews, I show that LGBT rights activists increased their influence on French organizations by developing implementation resources that corporations could readily use to flesh out their diversity commitments and implement diversity programs to promote the inclusion of LGBT employees. I demonstrate how insider activists used these implementation resources to denounce organizations’ superficial commitments or employees’ homophobic practices, thereby compelling organizations to change.

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