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Market Rebels:
How Activists Make or Break Radical Innovations
Hayagreeva Rao

Hardcover | 2008 | $24.95 | £19.95 | ISBN: 9780691134567
216 pp. | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 | 10 halftones. 3 tables.
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Great individuals are assumed to cause the success of radical innovations--thus Henry Ford is depicted as the one who established the automobile industry in America. Hayagreeva Rao tells a different story, one that will change the way you think about markets forever. He explains how "market rebels"--activists who defy authority and convention--are the real force behind the success or failure of radical innovations.

Rao shows how automobile enthusiasts were the ones who established the new automobile industry by staging highly publicized reliability races and lobbying governments to enact licensing laws. Ford exploited the popularity of the car by using new mass-production technologies.

Rao argues that market rebels also establish new niches and new cultural styles. If it were not for craft brewers who crusaded against "industrial beer" and proliferated brewpubs, there would be no specialty beers in America. But for nouvelle cuisine activists who broke the stranglehold of Escoffier's classical cuisine in France, there would have been little hybridization and experimentation in modern cooking.

Market rebels also thwart radical innovation. Rao demonstrates how consumer activists have faced down chain stores and big box retailers, and how anti-biotechnology activists in Germany penetrated pharmaceutical firms and delayed the commercialization of patents.

Read Market Rebels to learn how activists succeed when they construct "hot causes" that arouse intense emotions, and exploit "cool mobilization"--unconventional techniques that engage audiences in collective action. You will realize how the hands that move markets are the joined hands of market rebels.


"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

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Table of Contents:

Preface ix
Chapter 1: From the Invisible Hand to Joined Hands 1
Chapter 2: "You Can't Get People to Sit on an Explosion!": The Cultural Acceptance of the Car in America 18
Chapter 3: Evange-Ale-ists and the Renaissance of Microbrewing 43
Chapter 4: The French Revolution: Collective Action and the Nouvelle Cuisine Innovation 69
Chapter 5: Show Me the Money: Shareholder Activism and Investor Rights 95
Chapter 6: Chain Reaction: The Enactment and Repeal of Anti-Chain Store Laws 119
Chapter 7: Drug Wars: How the Anti-Biotechnology Movement Penetrated German Pharmaceutical Firms and Prevented Technology Commercialization 142
Chapter 8: From Exit to Voice: Advice for Activists 172
Notes 181
Index 197

This book has been translated into:

  • Portuguese (Brazil)

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