skip to navigation skip to content

Social change


Study co-authored by Professor Paul Tracey on challenging ‘guarded institutions’ is featured in Stanford Social Innovation Review.

theater white mask

A study co-authored by Professor Paul Tracey of Cambridge Judge Business School about how social change organisations can challenge “guarded institutions” is featured in the latest edition of the Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR).

Professor Paul Tracey
Professor Paul Tracey

The study recently published in the Academy of Management Journal looks at how an international children’s rights organisation worked in Indonesia to disrupt child marriage, by building a secret coalition of partners including local activists and youth groups to form a social movement.

The study’s findings “challenge organisational theorists who have long drawn distinctions between ‘astroturfing’ campaigns that are fabricated, or organised from above, and authentic grassroots movements that emerge from below,” the SSIR said.

The study – entitled Making Change from Behind a Mask: How Organisations Challenge Guarded Institutions by Sparking Grassroots Activism – is co-authored by Dr Laura Claus, Assistant Professor at the University College London School of Management and a PhD graduate of Cambridge Judge, and by Paul Tracey, Professor of Innovation & Organisation and Co-Director of the Cambridge Centre for Social Innovation at Cambridge Judge.

“We examine how organisations can challenge institutions that are coercively protected by powerful elites – guarded institutions – when they are unable or unwilling to advocate publicly against them,” says the study.