Speaker: Daniel Korschun, Drexel University
"In recent years, some companies have publicly taken positions on political issues such as the death penalty, abortion, and gun control, thereby rejecting the traditional wisdom that companies should abstain from politics. The present research seeks to settle an ongoing debate by examining how consumers respond to companies that take political stands. In a field experiment and two controlled experiments, the reactions to abstention (versus taking a stand) depend on the orientation of the company. For a company that claims to be guided primarily by concern for performance (what we call results-oriented companies), consumer purchase responses to taking a stand are generally negative. However, the opposite effect holds for companies that claim to be guided by a set of values (values-oriented companies). The mediating mechanism is perceived corporate hypocrisy. The research also identifies an important boundary condition; perceptions of hypocrisy are attenuated when the company is perceived to have low-agency."