Scholars of business associations have recently learned a great deal about how associations contribute to development, but much less about the origins of such developmental associations. This essay introduces and assesses a new political explanation for the origins of ‘developmental associations.’ Conventional wisdom holds that developmental associations must be able to rise above political and collusive pressures and establish autonomy from states. Yet, I argue that these associations’ developmental capacities emerge as a result of active state support by key actors, and in response to challenges and threats posed by competitive business organizations. Developmental associations emerge and acquire their capacities as they confront internal threats from other associations, as well as utilize the opportunities presented by the national state and international channels. In this view, functional or organizational capacity is not enough, rather, developmental business associations, must exhibit political capacity—that is the ability to manage the political environment, and respond to the structure of opportunities and threats. This explanation views developmental business associations as political organizations seeking power as well as offers a historically sensitive analysis of transformation of business politics in reforming India.
© 2005 Aseema Sinha
Aseema Sinha. 2005. “Understanding the Rise and Transformation of Business Collective Action in India,” Business and Politics, Vol. 7: Issue 2, August 2005.