In this dissertation, I investigate the presence and extent of negative spillovers from interorganizational conflict. I theorize about the economic and normative concerns associated with occupying a position that is socially proximate to others in conflict. I further articulate how and when these concerns will translate into liabilities and constraints for an organization in such a position. I examine subsequent disruptions in the organization’s local networks, including withdrawal and avoidance of relationships, as the consequences of being close to others in conflict. Focusing on a mediated market context, I also highlight that conflict between two organizations can spill over to negatively affect a diverse set of relationships, including their ties with intermediaries and, even further, interactions among their intermediaries.
Two empirical studies test these ideas. In the first study (Chapter 2), I argue that conflict between two organizations can heighten the concerns of indirect information leakage through sharing a common intermediary. I predict that this perception can lead to their withdrawal of existing relationships with the intermediary firm. I find support for my argument in the study of litigation events among U.S. public companies and their subsequent termination of relationships with lobbying firms that they have in common between 1998 and 2018. In the second study (Chapter 3), I posit that intermediaries may avoid close interactions with each other when their clients are in conflict due to the concerns of being seen as disloyal to their clients. An empirical analysis of policy conflict among interest groups and interfirm lobbyist mobility between 2007 and 2018 corroborates this idea. A lobbying firm’s likelihood of hiring a lobbyist from a source lobbying firm decreased with the level of conflict in their clients’ policy interests.
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About this Dissertation
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