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In the name of justice : a case study of direct selling from a social movement perspective

Case study of direct selling from a social movement perspective

Authors Kan, Samuel Ka Kit
Issue Date 2000
Summary Direct selling has been studied conventionally as an economic activity. Direct salespeople, however, purport that it is not a kind of work, and not even a type of business, but a way of life which embraces an ideology, mission, and identity. To bring our view more in line with its participants' perspective, I propose a social movement approach to direct selling. Built upon Snow and Benford's (1988) concept of framing-diagnosis, prognosis, and motivation, this paper examines how a group of leaders in Amway, a leading direct selling company in Hong Kong and worldwide, manipulates the members' grievances against traditional employment, interprets current events and work problems, redefines the notion of justice in the contemporary society of work, and constructs the meaning of doing Amway to their lives. As the discussion shows, the leaders provide Amway with a social movement outlook and sell its business program to the members in movement terms and with movement techniques. Specifically, they position Amway as the solution to various social ills and life problems. In Amway, however, motivation appears not only in the form of ideological appeal but also in the form of material wealth. And to most of its participants, Amway seems an instrumental activity to economic benefit or to get-rich-quick. What is more critical, the group does not live up to the ideology the leaders provide and the organizational system also creates its own form of injustice and exploitation to the members within the organization. It is perhaps better to interpret Amway as a quasi-economic, quasi-movement organization, which aims to fulfill the material as well as spiritual aspects of people's lives.
Note Thesis (M.Phil.)--Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, 2000
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Language English
Format Thesis
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