My current book project is titled Corporate Social Justice Warriors: Why Big Businesses Defend LGBT Rights, Immigration, and Racial Equality. The research explores the motivations of corporate activism. Why would large, influential corporations take public stances on controversial cultural issues? Is it because they want to win over young, liberal consumers or is it because they want to change public opinion and advance the policy preferences of their corporate executives and activist employees? I argue that the latter is a stronger explanation for corporate political activity on social issues. In addition to external economic explanations, internal explanations can also account for corporate engagement with social issues.
One chapter from the book finds that the average corporation sees no increase or decrease in their stock price after engaging in activism, but changes in stock price can predict future activism. (Working paper available here.)
Another chapter finds that corporate political activity on identity-based social issues can be explained by CEO ideology. (Working paper available here.)
The final empirical chapter is a case study of LGBT rights activism, and it finds that corporate political activity on LGBT issues can be explained by internal pressure from a firm’s employees. (Pre-publication draft of Business and Politics article available here.)