Grants

INQUIRE provides grants to support qualitative research, with an emphasis on studies of entrepreneurship and innovation.  Uses of grants can include:

  • Travel to conferences to present qualitative research
  • Direct research expenses (e.g., interview transcription, travel to field sites)

Research Grants

Media Coverage of Corporate Front Groups’ Rhetoric: An Analysis of the Center for Consumer Freedom’s Defense of Coca-Cola

Authored by Dr. Ishva Minefee and Dr. Sonali Shah

Over the past few decades, researchers have uncovered instances of firms’ covert funding of front groups in response to social movement activism. Front groups are organizations that claim to represent a civil society agenda, but primarily seek to defend corporate interests. The few studies that have been able to link firms to front groups emphasize front groups’ rhetorical strategies via lobbying and grassroots organizing to influence outcomes in favor of their corporate funders. One overlooked mechanism used to spread front groups’ rhetoric is the media. In this study, we exploit an unintended disclosure of Coca-Cola’s covert ties to the Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF)—a front group that emphasizes personal responsibility and the protection of consumer choices—during a period of anti-soda activism targeting Coca-Cola. We are analyzing the differences in how national and local media outlets covered and gave legitimacy to the rhetoric of the CCF. Additionally, we intend to interview journalists who cited the CCF in their news articles so as to strengthen our development of theory on how media outlets are used to spread front groups’ rhetoric.



You Win Some, You Lose Some: An Examination of International Activist Campaigns Targeting MNCs

Authored by Dr. Ishva Minefee

Research on social movement activism targeting corporations is primarily concerned with examining why some campaigns are successful in achieving corporate acquiescence to activists’ demands whereas other campaigns fail. Despite theoretical and empirical progress on this topic, this research often ignores international activist campaigns, or pressures from activists spanning two or more countries to influence social change. To address this gap, I am conducting a multiple case study of U.S. multinational corporations’ (MNCs’) responses to international campaigns from 2000 to 2020. After creating a database of campaigns, I intend to interview directors of activist organizations to discuss the factors they believe influenced the success or failure of their campaigns. I will triangulate these interviews with an analysis of correspondences between activists and MNCs as well as media coverage of the campaigns. This project aims to add to our theoretical understanding of the interactions between activists and MNCs in international contexts, as called for by other researchers.

Proposal Requirements

Applicants should submit the following information to inquire@business.illinois.edu.