Class XI: Corporate Activism in War

Provided by Laura Marie Edinger-Schons, University of Mannheim

Guiding questions: What does Corporate Sociopolitical Activism (CSA) refer to? What are forms of CSA and how is it perceived by a firm‘s stakeholders? How does CSA relate to how corporations currently react to Russia‘s invasion of Ukraine?



Core readings

Gupta, A., & Briscoe, F. (2020). Organizational political ideology and corporate openness to social activism. Administrative Science Quarterly, 65(2), 524-563. PDF

Hambrick, D. C., & Wowak, A. J. (2021). CEO sociopolitical activism: A stakeholder alignment model. Academy of Management Review, 46(1), 33-59. PDF

Contemporary news article

Schouler, D. & Edinger-Schons, L. M. (2022). Why Apple, Disney, Ikea, and hundreds of other Western companies are abandoning Russia with barely a shrug. The Conversation, March 9th.

Post-lecture assignment

Please write a brief essay (500 words) using (a selection of) the reflection questions from the lecture slides: Can we really speak of corporate activism in cases such as firms‘ withdrawal from Russia? When are companies merely reacting to stakeholder pressure? Is the criticism of companies like Ritter sport justified? Which responsibilities do companies have in times of war? What can help to legitimize corporate actions in times of war?

Background video

Elke Schüßler, Johannes Kepler University Linz, talks with Dorothée Baumann-Pauly, Geneva Center for Business and Human Rights, University of Geneva

Background readings

Bhagwat, Y., Warren, N. L., Beck, J. T., & Watson IV, G. F. (2020). Corporate sociopolitical activism and firm value. Journal of Marketing, 84(5), 1-21. PDF

Branicki, L., Brammer, S., Pullen, A., & Rhodes, C. (2021). The morality of “new” CEO activism. Journal of Business Ethics, 170(2), 269-285. PDF