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Campaign Innovation on the Demand Side: Theory and Evidence from Europe
Unformatted Document Text:  short and medium term – because those who would have to sanction their adoption perceive disadvantages to their own organizational position arising from the technique’s introduction and use. Considerations of power may be particularly important when the innovation in question is a person – as, for example, an overseas campaign consultant – but their importance is by no means limited to that case. The argument underlining this paper, then, is primarily conceptual and descriptive: I maintain that the classification described above is a useful way to differentiate between the considerations that underlie campaign decision-makers’ choices about borrowing, or not borrowing, newly available campaign approaches – with a particular emphasis on borrowing from the United States. Insofar as the paper is essentially conceptual, its arguments can be illustrated (and I will attempt to illustrate them), but it is difficult to see how to subject them to proof or falsification as such. There is, however, a tentative causal hypothesis deriving from this conceptual framework (although the latter need not fall with the rejection of the former), which is the following: In order to be adopted by a campaign, potential innovations must pass muster on all three counts. A failure on any one of the three should lead to the technique’s not being introduced (or at any rate not being retained if once attempted), although the grounds for any given technique’s non-adoption may be any one (or any combination) of the three concerns. Also, and importantly, the three considerations do not necessarily coincide. A new technique appealing on efficiency grounds, for example, might be rejected for reasons of cultural inappropriateness, or because of its undesirable consequences for organizational power relationships – and, given the clear primacy of efficiency (vote-winning) to competitive party organizations, the discovery of at least some instances in which one or the other of those things is true will be an important plausibility test for my framework as a whole. 4

Authors: Smith, Jennifer.
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short and medium term – because those who would have to sanction their adoption perceive
disadvantages to their own organizational position arising from the technique’s introduction and
use. Considerations of power may be particularly important when the innovation in question is a
person – as, for example, an overseas campaign consultant – but their importance is by no means
limited to that case.
The argument underlining this paper, then, is primarily conceptual and descriptive: I
maintain that the classification described above is a useful way to differentiate between the
considerations that underlie campaign decision-makers’ choices about borrowing, or not
borrowing, newly available campaign approaches – with a particular emphasis on borrowing
from the United States. Insofar as the paper is essentially conceptual, its arguments can be
illustrated (and I will attempt to illustrate them), but it is difficult to see how to subject them to
proof or falsification as such. There is, however, a tentative causal hypothesis deriving from this
conceptual framework (although the latter need not fall with the rejection of the former), which
is the following: In order to be adopted by a campaign, potential innovations must pass muster
on all three counts. A failure on any one of the three should lead to the technique’s not being
introduced (or at any rate not being retained if once attempted), although the grounds for any
given technique’s non-adoption may be any one (or any combination) of the three concerns.
Also, and importantly, the three considerations do not necessarily coincide. A new technique
appealing on efficiency grounds, for example, might be rejected for reasons of cultural
inappropriateness, or because of its undesirable consequences for organizational power
relationships – and, given the clear primacy of efficiency (vote-winning) to competitive party
organizations, the discovery of at least some instances in which one or the other of those things is
true will be an important plausibility test for my framework as a whole.
4


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