Disney and other corporations are being pushed into social and political battlesApril 27, 20221 min read
At one time, corporations didn't get get in the middle of social and political battles, according to David Primo, professor of political science and business administration at the University of Rochester.
The Disney Corporation recently came out in opposition to Florida's "Don't Say Gay" law, and Primo says it was "dramatic" how quickly the state responded by removing the company's self-governing special district status. As Primo sees it, increased political polarization across the country is leading employees, consumers, and activists to push corporations to take positions on issues like police brutality and LGBTQ rights. The irony, though, is that Americans are polarized over whether corporations ought to be doing this. "In general, Democrats are highly supportive of this, and Republicans are not," says Primo.
"It's pretty straight forward to think that a corporation ought to be taking positions on issues related to its core business operations," says Primo. "The challenge for an executive, who has a fiduciary responsibility to the company, is knowing where to draw the line." So, if a company stakes out a position, Primo says it's just as likely to alienate a significant portion of its consumer base, as it is to gain the support of another portion of its base.
David Primo Ani and Mark Gabrellian Professor, Professor of Political Science and Business Administration
Primo is an expert in American politics, campaign finance, corporate political strategy, corporate social responsibility & fiscal policy.