Should Corporations Take A Political Stance?
In the past few weeks, Disney has taken a political stance regarding some legislation recently passed in its home state of Florida. The legislation, which has been called the “Don’t Say Gay” legislation, has become quite controversial despite the fact that the word “gay” does not appear in the legislation. The legislation prevents teachers from focusing on sexual issues in Kindergarten through 3rd grade. Despite the mischaracterization of the legislation, many individuals in the LGBT community and other groups have brought significant pressure on Disney to stand up against the legislation. The corporation now says that it may pursue litigation against the state due to legislation. Those who support the legislation are now pushing boycotts against Disney.
During the 20th century, most corporations tried to remain neutral regarding political issues. It was unusual for a corporation to take any type of political stance. But recently, more corporations have started to take positions on social and political issues. Should corporations take a stance on political and social issues? Or will taking a stance offend consumers potentially becoming detrimental to the corporation’s success?
Spectrem Group asked wealthy investors their opinions regarding corporations taking a political position on various issues. As you can see below, almost two-thirds of investors would prefer that companies remain neutral. This is especially true for older investors. In contrast, 49% of Millennials indicate that they are influenced to use or not use the products of certain companies based upon the political stands they take.
It will be interesting to see if corporations continue to take stances on social and political issues. Younger households seem more open to corporations becoming active in various ways. The question will become more important when a social or political position actually begins to impact the bottom line of the corporation.