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Changing Corporate America from Inside Out: Lesbian and Gay Workplace Rights

Nicole C. Raeburn
Volume: 20
Copyright Date: 2004
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 362
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  • Book Info
    Changing Corporate America from Inside Out
    Book Description:

    A long-overdue study, Nicole Raeburn’s analysis focuses on the mobilization of lesbian, gay, and bisexual employee networks over the past fifteen years to win domestic partner benefits in Fortune 1000 companies. Raeburn reveals the impact of the larger social and political environment on corporations’ openness to gay-inclusive policies, and what strategies have been most effective in transforming corporate practices.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-9395-5
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Introduction: Corporations as the New Frontier for Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Rights
    (pp. 1-22)

    Given the often contentious intersection between advocates for change and profit-oriented companies, a central question is how the rights of various groups are negotiated and secured in the workplace. Despite the backlash against gay and lesbian rights occurring in cities and states across the country, a rapidly expanding number of corporations are including sexual orientation in nondiscrimination policies, providing gay-inclusive diversity training, and extending health insurance and other benefits to domestic partners of lesbian and gay employees. Focusing on the Fortune 1000, orFortunemagazine’s list of the top 1,000 revenue-generating companies in the United States, my study reveals that...

  5. 1 The Rise of the Corporate Workplace Movement
    (pp. 23-52)

    Although the gay, lesbian, and bisexual movement is one of the most highly mobilized campaigns on the current political landscape (Adam 1995; J. Gamson 1995; Jenness 1999; Taylor and Raeburn 1995; Adam, Duyvendak, and Krouwel 1999), scholars have yet to direct their attention to a significant development in the struggle for equal rights: the rise of a lesbian, gay, and bisexual workplace movement. With a fledgling start in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when only two major corporations witnessed the birth of gay employee networks, by the late 1980s small numbers of lesbians and gay men began to mobilize...

  6. 2 The Slowdown in New Corporate Organizing
    (pp. 53-72)

    Accounting for the puzzling drop-off in corporate mobilization beginning in 1995 requires the same wide-angle lens used to explain the slow rise and then rapid growth of the workplace movement during the first and second waves. In this chapter I therefore discuss the third-wave decline in new organizing in relation to the larger sociopolitical and institutional environments. I also address the role of movement-countermovement inter actions (Meyer and Staggenborg 1996) and the impact of the media on the decisions of potential challengers. Drawing on social movement and new institutionalist perspectives, I treat political and institutional opportunities as socially constructed. I...

  7. 3 Building and Benefiting from the Movement
    (pp. 73-106)

    In this chapter I examine the connections, both formal and informal, that arose among gay employee networks in the early to mid 1990s, and I trace the growth and development of this infrastructure up to the present day. The discussion has a dual focus: to explain the institutional and movement processes by which widely dispersed workplace activists became linked to one another; and to highlight the resources, structures, and strategies that arose from these same interorganizational linkages.

    Before the rise of such cross-network connections, most lesbian and gay employee activists had little or no knowledge of the struggles being waged...

  8. 4 Winds of Change outside Corporate Walls: External Factors Influence Gay-Inclusive Policies
    (pp. 107-156)

    In the next two chapters I delineate the elements of a multilevelinstitutional opportunity frameworkto highlight the contextual conditions that facilitate favorable policy outcomes for institutional activists. Born from the fruitful synthesis of a neoinstitutional perspective on organizational change and a political opportunity approach to social movements, the theoretical model I present offers a systematic framework for understanding how the multiple and heterogeneous environments of challengers can aid and/or constrain the fight for institutional transformation.

    To explain organizational change, neoinstitutionalist Neil Fligstein (1991), although not focused on activism, directs attention to the multiple arenas in which power relations get...

  9. 5 Corporate Windows of Opportunity: The Impact of Internal Factors on Gay-Inclusive Policies
    (pp. 157-188)

    As shown in the previous chapter, factors outside corporate walls influence the adoption of gay-inclusive policies. But what about the more immediate environment of workplace activists, namely, the targeted corporation? And what about the role of organizational challengers themselves? If the power of institutional analysis lies in the significance granted to large-scale contextual factors, both normative and structural, in explaining the diffusion of organizational innovations, its blind spot has been the failure to identify the agents of change within organizations, whether elites or mobilized constituencies (Chaves 1996; DiMaggio 1988). Even with more recent attempts to address agency and power, scholars...

  10. 6 Changing the Corporation from Inside Out: The Power of Employee Activism
    (pp. 189-230)

    The previous two chapters illuminated how institutional opportunities at the sociopolitical, field, and organizational levels facilitate favorable policy outcomes. In this chapter, attending to what Sidney Tarrow (1998) has called “power in movement,” I highlight the role that activists play in bringing about gay-inclusive policy change. Throughout the book I have woven examples of the ways that movements matter; here I provide a more thorough discussion of the collective identity and framing strategies that activists deploy in their efforts to create organizational opportunities and to convince corporate elites to grant them equal rights. I focus in particular on the impact...

  11. Conclusion: Movement Success, Theoretical and Practical
    (pp. 231-268)

    In the first half of this conclusion, which blends theoretical and practical considerations, I first show how myinstitutional opportunity framework, conceived from the synthesis of social movement perspectives and new institutional approaches to organizational analysis, offers a theory of movement success that can be used to understand the outcomes of institutional activism. Such a framework fills gaps in both scholarly literatures and also provides a useful guide for those challengers whose quest for equality targets not (or not simply) the state but other major institutions of society.

    After summarizing the key elements and contributions of a multilevel institutional opportunity...

  12. Appendix: The Birth of Gay Employee Networks and the Adoption of Domestic Partner Benefits
    (pp. 269-274)
  13. Works Cited
    (pp. 275-310)
  14. Index
    (pp. 311-334)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 335-336)