Does Social Activism Disrupt Corporate Political Activity?

The use and efficacy of corporate political activity has been well researched in the past, but a new paper published in Administrative Science Quarterly from authors Mary-Hunter McDonnell and Timothy Werner is taking a new perspective of corporate political activity. The paper, entitled “Blacklisted Businesses: Social Activists’ Challenges and the Disruption of Corporate Political Activity,” focuses on how large scale activist protests disrupt corporations’ ability to influence political stakeholders. Mary-Hunter McDonnell dives into the findings of the paper in the video below:

The abstract for the paper:

This paper explores whether and how social activists’ challenges affect politicians’ willingness to associate with targeted firms. We study the effect of public protest on corporate political activity using a unique database that allows us to analyze empirically the Current Issue Coverimpact of social movement boycotts on three proxies for associations with political stakeholders: the proportion of campaign contributions that are rejected, the number of times a firm is invited to give testimony in congressional hearings, and the number of government procurement contracts awarded to a firm. We show that boycotts lead to significant increases in the proportion of refunded contributions, as well as decreases in invited congressional appearances and awarded government contracts. These results highlight the importance of considering how a firm’s sociopolitical environment shapes the receptivity of critical non-market stakeholders. We supplement this analysis by drawing from social movement theory to extrapolate and test three key mechanisms that moderate the extent to which activists’ challenges effectively disrupt corporate political activity: the media attention a boycott attracts, the political salience of the contested issue, and the status of the targeted firm.

You can read “Blacklisted Businesses: Social Activists’ Challenges and the Disruption of Corporate Political Activity” from Administrative Science Quarterly free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to keep current on all of the latest research from Administrative Science QuarterlyClick here to sign up for e-alerts!

How Can Anthropology Bring a New Perspective to Corruption Research?

[We’re pleased to welcome Bertrand Venard of Audencia Nantes School of Management and Wharton School of theJMI_72ppiRGB_powerpoint University of Pennsylvania. Professor Venard recently published an article with Davide Torsello of Central European University Business School and University of Bergamo, in the Journal of Management Inquiry entitled “The Anthropology of Corruption.”]

  • What inspired you to be interested in this topic?

I was inspired by the complete lack of consideration of the anthropology field in management literature that studies corruption. I thought an anthropological view of corruption could offer a stimulating perspective for organizational scholars.

  • Were there findings that were surprising to you?

Anthropologists have been doing research about corruption for decades. Their research could add value to the organizational field, particularly on the matter of corruption and general wrongdoings in organizations. In their research, anthropologists stress the importance of using a definition of social actors, rather than a universal definition. Thus, for anthropologists, corruption is what the locals names “corruption.” Considering the native perspective, anthropologists reject a moralistic view of corruption. Instead, they present the cohesive influence of corruption.

Furthermore, anthropologists see corruption as a process, not a statistical phenomenon. This demand for a historical account of corruption has led academics to use ethnography as a method of inquiry, a method that is known in management but not frequently used to study corruption. Anthropology allows an interesting perspective, using corruption as a single point of entry to the whole culture. Corruption should not be used for itself, but for the understanding it provides about the complete culture.

  • How do you see this study influencing future research and/or practice?

Our research may influence organizational scholars to consider the anthropology field when doing research about corruption. In particular, researchers may use more qualitative methods to study corruption, especially ethnography. By focusing on local, social and cultural aspects of corruption, it may be possible to better understand why corruption is a phenomenon resistant to eradication, and why, for instance, executives from countries where corruption is not an issue engage in wrongdoings when they go to emerging markets.

You can read “The Anthropology of Corruption” for free in Journal of Management Inquiry by clicking here. Want to know about all the latest research like this from Journal of Management Inquiry? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!


Davide TorDavide Torsellosello is an associate professor of socio-cultural anthropology at Central European University Business School, Hungary, and University of Bergamo, Italy. He is a leader of the unit “The ethnographic study of corruption” in the EU FP7 research project ANTICORRP (Anti-corruption Policies Revisited. Global Trends and European Responses to the Challenge of Corruption). Recently, he published The New Environmentalism? Civil Society and Corruption in the Enlarged EU (Ashgate).

Bertrand Venard is a professor of strategy at Audencia Nantes School of Management (France) and visiting Bertrand Venardprofessor, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania (USA). His research interests concern deviance, fraud, and corruption. He has published more than 50 academic articles. He is involved in a working group of the United Nations (Global Compact, PRME, Principles of Responsible Management Education) aiming at reducing corruption through curriculum development.

Responding to Climate Change

A federal report released Friday warns that climate change will impact the everyday lives of Americans in coming decades, with extreme weather and climate events already taking their toll. The report, which can be downloaded here, is open for public comment starting today and scheduled to be finalized in March 2014, according to the Washington Post:

In a joint blog post Friday, White House science adviser John P. Holdren and Jane Lubchenco, head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, wrote that it is aimed at Americans “who need information about climate change in order to thrive — from farmers deciding which crops to grow, to city planners deciding the diameter of new storm sewers they are replacing, to electric utilities and regulators pondering how to protect the power grid.”

O&E_Mar03_72ppiRGB_150pixHow are farmers perceiving and responding to climate change? How is global warming affecting controversy over nuclear energy? And why has the climate change debate become so polarized? Find out more about these issues in the following articles from Organization & Environment:

Responding to Climate Change: Barriers to Reflexive Modernization in U.S. Agriculture,” published by Diana Stuart of Michigan State University, Rebecca L. Schewe of Mississippi State University, and Matthew McDermott of Michigan State University in September 2012

Support for Nuclear Energy in the Context of Climate Change: Evidence From the European Union,” published by Fred C. Pampel of the University of Colorado in September 2011

Talking Past Each Other? Cultural Framing of Skeptical and Convinced Logics in the Climate Change Debate,” published by Andrew J. Hoffman of the University of Michigan in March 2011

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Your Food, Your Planet: Time to Take Action

If you haven’t yet seen the “Story of Agriculture and Climate Change: The Road We’ve Traveled” Oxfam infographic, take a look here, courtesy of the Weekend Musings sustainability blog (click on the graphic to zoom in). It gives a clear overview of a topic that is highly complex, yet impacts our very lives: our planet’s booming population depends on agriculture for survival, and with the threat of climate change looming, we need to adapt. For related research, take a look at the following articles:

JED_72ppiRGB_150pixwGM Crops and Smallholders: Biosafety and Local Practice
By Klara Jacobson, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and Anne Ingeborg Myhr, GenØk-Center for Biosafety
Published November 19, 2012 in The Journal of Environment & Development (JED)

O&E_Mar03_72ppiRGB_powerpointResponding to Climate Change: Barriers to Reflexive Modernization in U.S. Agriculture
By Diana Stuart of Kellogg Biological Station, Rebecca L. Schewe of Mississippi State University, and Matthew McDermott of Michigan State University
Published in the September 2012 issue of Organization & Environment (O&E)

Editor’s note: Calling all photographers: Would you like to help put a new face on Organization and Environment? The journal is currently holding a cover photo contest. Click here to submit your photo by December 30!

Macromarketing Roundtable Commentary

Alan Bradshaw, University of London, and Mark Tadajewski, University of Strathclyde, published “Macromarketing Roundtable Commentary–The Export of Marketing Education” on September 20th, 2011 in the Journal of Macromarketing’s OnlineFirst collection. Dr. Bradshaw kindly provided the following commentary on the article.

In the UK it is increasingly common for postgraduate students of marketing to be recruited from across the globe, and in particular from notionally “developing” economies such as India and China. This practice raises questions across a variety of issues; it can smuggle discourses of subalternaity into the classroom, it can construct marketing education as an agent of globalisation, it can undermine commitments to maintaining criticality in our subject areas, it can result in all manners of pedagogical challenges, it can raise huge amounts of money for universities and re-constitute marketing education as an object for export. To my mind, these are issues that get to the heart of marketing education in an age of ever-increasing commercialisation of universities and general neo-liberalism.

To explore the phenomenon, myself and Mark invited a group of inter-disciplinary scholars for a roundtable discussion in Royal Holloway, University of London. We asked the participants to construct short statements outlining their positions and together they form, I hope readers will agree, a series of fascinating accounts and analyses about marketing education not just as a subject for teaching and learning, but also as a product for export at a time of globalisation, neo-liberalism and political-economic transformations.

We hope that this commentary will be of interest to anybody who teaches or learns marketing as well as a broader audience who are interested in political economy, globalisation and the role of the university

To view other articles in the OnlineFirst collection, please click here. For more information about the Journal of Macromarketing, please follow this link.

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