The purpose of this paper is to explore how, in unpredictable policy environments, specific managerial choices play a vital role in designing lobbying capabilities through the choice of levels of investment in human capital, network relationships and structural modification.
Using an inductive case study approach, data were collected through 42 in‐depth, semi‐structured interviews and documented archival data. Cross‐case pattern sequencing was used to construct an interpretive model of lobbying capability design. Data were framed by the dynamic resource‐based theory of the firm.
Heterogeneous lobbying capabilities are adapted differently in private and state‐owned airlines as a result of diverse ownership structures and time compositions that interplay with organizational processes. The result is a divergence between private‐ and state‐owned airlines in how they engage with governmental actors and policies.
The paper contributes to ongoing discourse in and between the dynamic capabilities and corporate political activity literatures, particularly on how state/non‐state‐owned airlines design their political lobbying capabilities. The research is limited in so far as it only studies the European airline industry.
The paper illustrates how a specific and far‐reaching unanticipated external policy stimulus (the 9/11 terrorist attacks) impacted on management choices for lobbying design in the European airline industry.
Lawton, T. and Rajwani, T. (2011), "Designing lobbying capabilities: managerial choices in unpredictable environments", European Business Review, Vol. 23 No. 2, pp. 167-189. https://doi.org/10.1108/09555341111111192Download as .RIS
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