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Resources and Resourcefulness: Strategic Capacity in the Unionization of California Agriculture, 1959-1966

Marshall Ganz
American Journal of Sociology
Vol. 105, No. 4 (Jan., 2000), pp. 1003-1062
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3003887
Page Count: 60
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Resources and Resourcefulness: Strategic Capacity in the Unionization of California Agriculture, 1959-1966
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Abstract

Why did the insurgent United Farm Workers (UFW) succeed while its better-resourced rival-the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee, AFL-CIO (AWOC)-failed? Explanations relying on altered political opportunity structures or resources, accounts of Cesar Chavez's charismatic leadership, or descriptions of UFW strategy fail to identify mechanisms for creating effective strategy. By analyzing leadership, organizational influences on actors' choices, and their interaction within the environment, this study shows that greater access to salient information, heuristic facility, and motivation generated more effective strategy. Differences in "strategic capacity" can explain how resourcefulness can compensate for lack of resources, why some new organizations can overcome the "liability of newness," and how reorganizational "focal" moments may lead to a social movement.

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