Interest Groups & Advocacy

, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 376–406 | Cite as

Competition and strategic differentiation among transnational advocacy groups

  • Mette Eilstrup-SangiovanniEmail author
Original Article


Why do some transnational advocacy groups adopt radical, confrontational tactics whereas others focus on ‘inside’ lobbying and information provision? Why do some advocacy groups appeal to large global audiences while others approach decision-makers behind closed doors? Bringing together interest group studies and population ecology theory, this article examines how population ecological dynamics affect strategic specialization among transnational advocate groups. I argue that increasing resource competition resulting from ‘organizational crowding’, along with the introduction of new legal and technological tools has led to growing strategic differentiation among transnational advocates, and has prompted a strategic division of labor whereby some groups (mainly larger, well-established and resource-rich groups) specialize in gaining political access and media attention, while others (mainly smaller, less established groups) focus on developing ‘niche’ agendas and strategies including, inter alia, radical protest, monitoring and enforcement, and litigation. I illustrate my argument with quantitative data and comparative cases from the realm of transnational environmental conservation advocacy.


Transnational advocacy Ecological resource partitioning theory Environmental advocacy strategies NGO monitoring and enforcement 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interests

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Limited 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Politics and International StudiesUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK
  2. 2.Robert Schuman CentreEuropean University InsituteFlorenceItaly

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