Free and unrestrained competition demanded a continuing resiliency in responding to market changes. The innovation in products, services, and business methods that made economic life creative and vibrant came to be seen as a threat to the survival of firms unable or unwilling to respond. Concerns for security and stability began to take priority over autonomy and spontaneity in the thinking of most business leaders.
Because "collectivism" reflects conservative, status quo sentiments, its underlying premises were consistent with business efforts to resist change. Industries organized themselves through the machinery of the trade associations and began the task of altering the attitudes, belief systems, and practices that represented the old order. Business decision making that emphasized the well-being of the individual firm was to be eschewed in favor of attitudes that stressed the collective interests of the industry itself. Individual profit maximizing was to be de-emphasized when confronted by the "greater interests of the group"; independence and self-centeredness were to be put aside in favor of a more "cooperative" form of "friendly competition."
When voluntary approaches failed to produce the desired stability, many businessmen .. sought to effectuate this spirit of "cooperation" through politically backed programs designed to fashion a greater degree of centralized business decision-making. Characterizing their proposals as "industrial self-regulation," business spokesmen and trade associations worked to secure for themselves a diluted competitive environment that would not be threatening to their interests.