We live in the age of boycotts. But which ones work?

In today’s The Big Story podcast, we’re in the middle of a month in which thousands of Canadians have sworn to boycott any stores or products produced by Loblaw Companies Ltd. That includes an awful lot of stores and products, and would require some severe changing of habits. Which is why it probably won’t work.

François Neville is the Associate Professor of Strategic Management at McMaster University’s DeGroote School of Business. “Historically boycotts often have been initiated by community groups or advocacy groups,” says Neville, “but with the emergence of social media as an avenue for like-minded people to connect, it seems like many of them now are starting to pop up through these platforms like Reddit.”

It seems that every week we’re encouraged to boycott something, but how many of these protests actually result in change and why? What should Canadians who want to encourage companies like Loblaw to change their strategies actually do to get some traction? And what should boycott organizers do to encourage the maximum number of people to join?

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