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'Give it back, George': Network dynamics in the philanthropic field

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Mairi Maclean, Professor Charles Harvey



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


This paper assumes a network dynamics perspective to explore the charitable sector campaign known as ‘Give it Back, George’, which overturned a threatening tax change announced in the UK Budget 2012. We consider network activity from diverse viewpoints. Collaboration by disparate players enhanced the campaign’s legitimacy, high-status actors with a tertius iungens strategic orientation eschewing the limelight whilst others took centre stage. Whilst extant research has shown how lower-status actors may profit from the networks of prominent individuals, we demonstrate that the reverse may apply. We suggest that elite actors who activate ties and bring together disconnected others are often less visible than apparent dominant actors. Social movements are not always reformist but may be deployed by elite incumbents to preserve the status quo. The story we narrate here is therefore less concerned with field transformation than with field preservation at the elite level when faced with threatening change.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Maclean M, Harvey C

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Organization Studies

Year: 2016

Volume: 37

Issue: 3

Pages: 399-423

Print publication date: 01/03/2016

Online publication date: 30/11/2015

Acceptance date: 16/09/2015

Date deposited: 24/09/2015

ISSN (print): 0170-8406

ISSN (electronic): 1741-3044

Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd.


DOI: 10.1177/0170840615613368


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