When do Opportunities become Trade-offs for Social Movement Organizations? Assessing Media Impact in the Global Human Rights Movement

  • Kathleen R Rodgers University of Victoria
Keywords: Social movements, organizational dynamics, human rights movement


Abstract: This paper explores the dilemmas that social movement organizations face as they seek to conform to institutional norms in order to expand their media influence. In particular, I examine the similarity of strategic decision-making of two key organizations in the Human Rights Movement. The analysis shows how isomorphism occurred as both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch adapted their advocacy efforts and employee job descriptions to the tastes, routines and information demands of the global media. However, I also demonstrate that such pathways are disrupted as organizational values act to mediate the influence of isomorphism on the internal dynamics of organizations. The article also contributes to the growing literature on human rights activism and global social movements more generally.