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Taking a Stand: Consumer Responses to Corporate Political Activism

32 Pages Posted: 9 Jul 2016 Last revised: 13 Jul 2016

Daniel Korschun

Drexel University, LeBow College of Business

Anubhav Aggarwal

Drexel University

Hoori Rafieian

Drexel University

Date Written: July 7, 2016

Abstract

Corporations are taking public positions on divisive political issues with remarkable frequency. We call this corporate political activism, a largely recent phenomenon that highlights the widening role that corporations have in modern society. While the conventional wisdom suggests that companies should avoid political activism at almost any cost, we find evidence in the consumer context that this may not always be true. Over three experiments, we find that consumer reactions depend in part on the orientation of the company. Consumers have heightened expectations that values-oriented companies (i.e., those which describe themselves as being guided by core beliefs and values) will take a stand, while expectations are lower that results-oriented companies (i.e., those that describe themselves as making decisions purely on how it will affect performance) will take a stand. Our findings reveal that companies which violate these expectations run the risk of losing customers.

Keywords: Corporate Social Responsibility, Political Activism

Suggested Citation

Korschun, Daniel and Aggarwal, Anubhav and Rafieian, Hoori, Taking a Stand: Consumer Responses to Corporate Political Activism (July 7, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2806476

Daniel Korschun (Contact Author)

Drexel University, LeBow College of Business ( email )

3141 Chestnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States
215-895-1998 (Phone)

Anubhav Aggarwal

Drexel University ( email )

3141 Chestnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

Hoori Rafieian

Drexel University ( email )

3141 Chestnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

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