In this article we develop a theoretical framework to explain values-based rivalry between activists and firms by integrating and advancing key insights from competitive dynamics and social activist research. The first part of our framework conceptualizes the unique tensions, actions, and responses that characterize values-based rivalry and distinguish it from rivalry between firms. The second part of our framework conceptualizes the role of managers’ perceptions in shaping their firms’ likelihood of responding to activists’ actions during values-based rivalry. Overall, our conceptualization primarily expands competitive dynamics research to account for rivalry between dissimilar actors and, in doing so, broadens social activist research to account for such rivalry.

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Copyright © 2019 Academy of Management. This article first appeared in the Academy of Management Review 44:4 (October 2019), 800-818.

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Waldron, Theodore L., Chad Navis, Olivia Aronson, Jeffrey G. York, and Desiree F. Pacheco. “Values-Based Rivalry: A Theoretical Framework of Rivalry Between Activists and Firms.” Academy of Management Review 44, no. 4 (October 2019): 800–818.