‘Give it back, George’: network dynamics in the philanthropic field

Mairi Maclean, Charles Harvey

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13 Citations (SciVal)
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This paper assumes a network dynamics perspective to explore the charitable sector campaign known as ‘Give it Back, George’, which overturned a threatening tax change announced in the UK Budget 2012. We consider network activity from diverse viewpoints. Collaboration by disparate players enhanced the campaign’s legitimacy, high-status actors with a tertius iungens strategic orientation eschewing the limelight while others took centre stage. While extant research has shown how lower-status actors may profit from the networks of prominent individuals, we demonstrate that the reverse may apply. We suggest that elite actors who activate ties and bring together disconnected others are often less visible than apparent dominant actors. Social movements are not always reformist but may be deployed by elite incumbents to preserve the status quo. The story we narrate here is therefore less concerned with field transformation than with field preservation at the elite level when faced with threatening change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)399-423
Number of pages25
JournalOrganization Studies
Issue number3
Early online date30 Nov 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016


  • Sustainability
  • elite actors
  • field of power
  • network dynamics
  • philanthropy
  • social movements
  • social networks
  • agency


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