Implicit corporate political activity and elite formation

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Alves, Mário Aquino
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In this thesis, we analyze how a progressive business elite created the civil society organization Rede Nossa São Paulo (RNSP), achieving significant institutional changes, thus enabling the elite’s consolidation in the political sphere. The research yielded three articles. The first article discusses how RNSP became a strong political actor in the City of São Paulo and also in Brazil. To address this issue, we applied historical constructs to show how RNSP used history to become a central actor in the political sphere. In the second paper, we complement corporate political activity (CPA) theory by adding a new construct, implicit corporate political activity (ICPA), which conceptualizes how business elites together with civil society organizations can influence government. Since government, corporations and civil society organizations now have blurred boundaries; we understand that this concept is extremely important in drawing attention and creating new avenues for research in this novel environment. In the final article, we show the micro foundations of ICPA. Specifically, how business elites and corporations influence RNSP and, indirectly, government. Concluding, we contribute to the literature on how business influences government and the public sphere indirectly, through civil society organizations. Theoretically, we illuminate the literature of institutional theory, history, and power.

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