Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
The William W. and Catherine M. Rucks Department of Management
Industry associations are organizations that represent the interests of member firms operating within an industry and are thus important for management and strategy research. Prior research has focused on the relationships between industry associations and their members as well as the many benefits that arise from this link. While previous theoretical contributions have acknowledged that industry associations function as socio-cultural actors to produce meaning for their environments, very little empirical research has explored their roles and actions in this realm. To address this understudied area, I examine how industry associations construct their interests and aim to influence public opinion as well as to shape societal beliefs. One of the ways they accomplish these objectives is by producing and disseminating discursive material for consumption by their member firms and other actors in their environments. Through the construction of discourse, the associations frame their interests, address specific topics, and establish various problems. I use qualitative discourse analysis, which is an appropriate means of studying bodies of texts and examining how they are related, to explore how industry associations produce discursive materials for the purpose of influencing their environment.
My findings reveal that there are five overarching themes constructed through the creation of industry associations’ press releases. These themes are the industry associations’ efforts to establish the foundational qualities of their products or services, assert the legitimacy of those products or services, construct certain topics as problematic, frame themselves and the entities they represent as solutions to those problematized topics, and establish the relationships they maintain with actors in their environments. These overarching themes represent topics of interest for both the industry associations and their member firms and are framed as significant for their industries and actors in their external environments.
Sell, Katelynn Marie, "Constructing Interests Through Discourse: An Examination of Renewable Energy Industry Associations" (2020). LSU Doctoral Dissertations. 5136.
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