[We’re pleased to welcome author Bruce C. Rudy of The University of Texas at San Antonio. He recently published an article in Business & Society entitled “The Chief Political Officer: CEO Characteristics and Firm Investment in Corporate Political Activity,” co-authored by Andrew F. Johnson. From Rudy:]
In setting out to study what drives organizations to engage in corporate political activity (CPA), my coauthor (Andrew F. Johnson, Ph.D.) and I were struck by how little was known about the role that the firm’s leader played in this regard. This was especially surprising considering that we have a well-researched theory on the influence of the firm’s leader on its strategic choices (i.e., Upper Echelons Theory). When we combined the concepts underpinning CPA and Upper Echelons Theories, a number of novel ideas emerged and we knew we had the opportunity to make important contributions to both theories. The data we collected supported many of these ideas. We are thrilled that Business & Society has provided us the opportunity to share our research with you.
The full abstract to their article is below:
Research on corporate political activity has considered a number of antecedents to a firm’s engagement in politics. The majority of this research has focused on either industry or firm-level motivations that lead to corporate political activity, leaving the role of the firm’s leader noticeably absent in such scholarship. This article combines ideas from Upper Echelons Theory with research in corporate political activity to bridge this important gap. More specifically, this research utilizes CEO demographic characteristics to determine (a) whether a firm will invest in political activity and (b) how these characteristics influence the particular approach to political activity the firm undertakes. Considering 27 years of data from large U.S. firms, we find that a CEO’s age, tenure, functional, and educational backgrounds influence whether and how the firm invests in political activity.
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