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U.S. Department of Labor Futurework
  Trends and Challenges for Work in the 21st Century
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Opinions and views in these papers are those expressed by the author(s). They are not to be taken as expressions of support for particular positions by the Department of Labor. Please do not cite these papers without prior permission of the author(s).

Passion with an Umbrella:
Grassroots Activism in the Workplace

Maureen Scully and Amy Segal

Sloan School of Management
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Task Force Working Paper #WP13

Prepared for the May 25-26, 1999, conference “Symposium on Changing Employment Relations and New Institutions of Representation”

September 1, 1999

Draft in Circulation

This paper was presented at a symposium that was funded under a grant from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy, U.S. Department of Labor. Opinions expressed in this paper are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the U.S. Department of Labor.

Table of Contents

PDF Version (126 K) Foreword



What the Social Movements Literature Offers to Studies of Organizational Change

What Organizational Settings Offer to Research on Social Movements

Exploratory Questions from the Social Movements Literature


Social Movement Issue

Interview Protocol

Organizational Setting

Identification of Activists

Data Collection

Final Sample

Data Analysis


Do Activists Invoke a Broad Social Movement Discourse?

How Do Groups of Activists Mobilize in the Workplace?

How Do Activists Sustain Their Commitment?

How Do Activists Manage the Risks Involved?

What Do Activist Groups Do?


Social Movements and Workplace Activism




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