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Toward a new institutional strategy framework for political marketing


Corespondence to: Sigge Winther Nielsen, University of Copenhagen, Political Science, Oster Farimagsgade 5, Copenhagen, Denmark, 1353.



The present literature on political marketing strategy has provided important knowledge about how the material context of technologies, polls or competitors influences strategy formulation. However, less attention has been directed to the constraints facing a political organization from the social context related to habits, norms or social conventions. This article thus aims at bringing organizational new institutional theory into the field of political marketing strategy. Accordingly, it is investigated how political organizations when initiating marketing strategies act or react toward institutionalized demands in their environment, such as issues or ideas that are considered socially appropriate. As such, a strategy framework consisting of a phase model and a typology is developed. The phase model is drawn from extant literature within organizational new institutional theory stating that decision makers will (1) scan information from their environment, (2) interpret this incoming information in available cognitive categories and (3), finally, select a strategy premised on their cognitive interpretations. On this ground, we build a novel typology that specifies which political marketing strategy decision makers will select under different cognitive framings of their environment. Here, we delineate four ideal type political marketing strategies—conformity, decoupling, defense and entrepreneurial—that correspond to how organizational decision makers interpret their institutional surroundings. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.