This empirical study examines corporate responses to activist shareholder groups filing social-policy shareholder resolutions. Using resource dependency theory as our conceptual framing, we identify some of the drivers of corporate responses to shareholder activists. This study departs from previous studies by including a fourth possible corporate response, engaging in dialogue. Dialogue, an alternative to shareholder resolutions filed by activists, is a process in which corporations and activist shareholder groups mutually agree to engage in ongoing negotiations to deal with social issues. (...) Based on a unique dataset of resolutions filed by member organizations of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility from 2002 to 2005 and the outcomes of these resolutions, our analysis finds that corporate managers are more likely to engage in dialogue with shareholder activists when the firm is larger, is more responsive to stakeholders, the CEO is the board chair, and the firm has a relatively lower percentage of institutional investors. (shrink)
This article focuses upon answering the following question: Does corporate political activity stand as an academic field? Following Hambrick and Chen, we consider three elements of the emergence of an academic field—differentiation, mobilization, and legitimacy. Utilizing a variety of data sources, we find CPA to be well differentiated from other academic fields; to have undertaken a number of activities to mobilize CPA as a field, but short of large-scale unification; and to have earned low to moderate legitimacy within management, but (...) little legitimacy outside of management. All in all, at this time, CPA does not squarely meet the elements necessary to emerge as a field. (shrink)
Multinational enterprises are aware of their responsibility to protect human rights now more than ever, but severe human rights violations, including physical integrity abuses, continue unabated. To explore this puzzle, we engage theoretically with the means-ends decoupling literature to examine if and when oil and gas firms’ policies and practices prevent severe human rights abuse. Using an original dataset, we identify two pathways to mitigate means-ends decoupling: while human rights policies alone do not reduce human rights abuses, firms with a (...) high-quality human rights policy over the long-term reduce severe human rights abuses; firms that combine preparedness—which we define as a firm’s capabilities, practices, and engagement—with a long-term human rights policy also reduce the likelihood of human rights abuses. Preparedness, we argue, can lead to reinforcement dynamics between long-term policy efforts and additional capabilities that provide a more holistic understanding of firm behavior. (shrink)
This paper contains a short outline of the rationale behind a workshop aimed at seeking connections between corporate social responsibility and corporate political activity. Two ‘provocateurs’ gave their view on these connections. After this kick-off two groups of ~10 persons each engaged in lively discussions on these connections, identifying a range of issues for further research and an interest in keeping this issue on the agenda.
This Special Issue commemorates the 60th anniversary of Business & Society with nine rigorous literature reviews that address important societal problems and provide opportunities for theory development in the business and society field; in this introduction we present an overview of the Special Issue. With the theme “Building on Its Past,” the nine articles address a host of contemporary issues, including climate change, wicked problems, business and human rights, human health, certifications standards, the governance of artificial intelligence, stakeholder engagement, stakeholder (...) theory, and corporate political activity. Together, these reviews offer a wealth of suggested themes, theories and approaches that can drive our research forward for the next decades in business and society research and practice. Using the lens of a miner-prospector continuum to categorize the diversity of articles within this special issue, a common theme emerges across the portfolio of reviews: they all call for a more systemic and integrative perspective toward studying the complex interactions that link business and society actors and issues. Building on these findings, we encourage future scholars to fill long-standing researched gaps through a more open systems approach, which supports both contextually sensitive and multi-level and multi-disciplinary approaches to address grand societal challenges. We conclude with specific suggestions as to how business and society scholars might use an open systems approach, including embracing methodologies to address complex causal pathways, theorizing with a view towards spanning external and internal elements of an organization, and reflecting on the temporal and spatial dynamics of complex systems. (shrink)
The objective of this study is to evaluate empirically a firm’s political relationships with elected officials. A general premise is that firms with certaincharacteristics are in a better position for developing political relationships and gaining benefits from these relationships. We draw upon the resource dependency, resource based, and political strategy choice literatures to consider certain factors that lead firms to seek political relationships with elected officials. We test a model drawing upon measures from each of these areas on a sample (...) of large companies with U.S. operations. (shrink)
The conventional view of the relationship between ratings of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and responses to activist shareholder resolutions is that firms with low CSR ratings are likely to resist activist’s pressures to change corporate policies and behavior. By contrast, firms with high CSR ratings are more likely to support such activist shareholder efforts. In the IABS discussionsession and this paper, we argue that the conventional view of corporate responses to shareholder resolutions is inadequate to explain the motivations, strategies, and (...) tactics of firms when they respond to activist shareholders. (shrink)
Due to continual challenges in their external environment, corporations are facing an increased demand for public participation and stakeholder inclusion. As aresult, companies are seeking ways to improve communication with their stakeholders. The emergence of the Internet has provided new corporate channelsfor offering information to stakeholders. This paper suggests that the information contained in company web pages reflects strategic information about the company. In addition to offering information to the public, web pages signal which issues a company holds as strategically (...) important. The objective of this paper is to begin the process of examining how companies express their understanding of multiple stakeholder interests and their efforts to include stakeholders in their strategy documents. The theoretical premise of this paper draws from the strategic management and the stakeholder literatures. The empirical section examines the content of the web pages of two companies from the pulp and paper industry. Based on the results of meaning making analysis, we synthesize the content of the strategy documents with three dimensions: strategic actors, strategic activities, and strategic actions. (shrink)
This workshop brought together people who are interested in or concerned about the course syllabus. Participants’ concerns and discussion centered on issues such as: 1) the purpose of the syllabus; 2) writing objectives for the course; and 3) evaluation of a syllabus.
This study contributes simultaneously to research on women board members and competitive dynamics by investigating two unresolved research questions: What is the effect of female directors on the firm’s competitive repertoire? Under what conditions is this effect more pronounced? Leveraging the “Awareness-Motivation-Capability” framework, we predict that having women on the board of directors should impact the complexity, heterogeneity, and volume of the firm’s competitive moves. Relying upon a sample of U.S. pharmaceutical firms for the years 2000 to 2017, we find (...) that adding female directors on the board positively affects the complexity and volume of a firm’s competitive moves, but negatively impacts the heterogeneity of competitive actions. In addition, the presence of a female CEO moderates these effects, leading to more complex competitive actions and increased volume. Thus, our study lends a greater understanding of how female board members influence competitive dynamics and shape the strategic direction of the firm. (shrink)