Mobilizing Resources for Collective Action and Sustainable Development: Mobilizing Interests or Shared Values?

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In this paper we address how actors mobilize resources to realize collective change and innovation to solve common issues. We draw on previous studies anchored within the IMP literature that have offered two perspectives on how actors concerned with a common issue mobilize resources for collective change and innovation. We review these perspectives and challenge them in an empirical setting to arrive at an understanding of how they relate to each other and how they contribute to the mobilization of resources and collective action. One perspective emphasizes the mobilization of interest, and the other the mobilization of shared values as key mechanism to mobilize actors and their resources to contribute to collective action. We draw on an in-depth-case study consisting of two interrelated issue-nets faced to combine environmental with socio-economic issues in a sustainable way. The findings suggest that shared values are important to the extent that they help in raising awareness for the issue and that they can temporarily hold a group together. However, we found that collective action for sustainable development only occurs once actors see how their contribution can benefit their private interest. We theorize on our findings and suggest that interest of actors can only be directed once they can be properly calculated in terms of cost and benefits of their contribution to collective change. We reflect on these findings and conclude with tentative theoretical contributions and implications for further research.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 30 Aug 2011
Event27th IMP Conference 2011 - University of Strathclyde Business School, Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: 31 Aug 20113 Sep 2011
Conference number: 27


Conference27th IMP Conference 2011
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • IR-82744
  • calculation and calculative devices sustainable development
  • common issue
  • issue-nets
  • resource mobilization
  • Collective action
  • METIS-279831


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