Hahrie Han, Elizabeth McKenna and Andrea Campbell have a paper introducing the concept of civic feedbacks, which argues that the ways organizations engage individuals have feedbacks that shape the strategic position of organizations and the strategic options available to leaders.
Democracy is premised on the ability of individuals, often working with others, to influence policies affecting them. However, existing theory cannot always explain the relationship between participatory acts and political influence; how do some become more influential than others? We introduce the concept of civic feedbacks, arguing that the ways organizations engage individuals have feedbacks that shape the strategic position of organizations and the options available to leaders. The mechanisms through which civic feedbacks operate include the depth of accountability to the constituency, the network of elite relationships to which leaders subsequently have access, and their ongoing ability to recruit a committed and flexible constituency willing to engage new issues. Analyzing how these feedbacks redound to organizations over time enhances our ability to explain civic organizations’ differential rates of political influence. The concept of civic feedbacks returns organizations and organizational strategy to the center of the study of political influence.