My Revised Persuasive speech is: Student loans should be forgiven. My main focus is on: Why student loans should be forgiven. I need help with my revised persuasive speech worksheet. My audience is my classmates. So, have this in mind please for the first question. Also, this is a persuasive speech not informative. So, please make sure you work accordingly. The objective needs to be persuasive. Not informative. I’ve attached the worksheet pages in here. Please take a look at it and let me know if you have any questions. Thank you so much.!
Name: PRESENTATION: Revised Persuasive Speech General Who is your new target audience? What do you know about them? How does this change your speech? What will they LIKE about your idea, or what might they HOPE would happen as a result? What will they NOT LIKE about your idea, or FEAR will happen as a result? Personal Goal: (What do you want to work on? Ex. Eye contact, gestures, vocal variety, etc.) How will you achieve this goal (be more specific than just practicing)? Objective: (State in one sentence) Tactics to Achieve Objective: (2-3, active verbs) How has the counter argument changed with the new target audience? HOOK What statistic, story, prop, image, participation, etc can I use to actively engage the audience the most at the top of my speech (Brainstorm an idea for each and then decide which one is the most engaging! Mark which one you will use with a STAR) Fact or Stat: Story: Image: Participation: What are your Main Ideas/Points? You must have at least 2 sub points per main point. Main Point 1: Sub Points: Transition: Main Point 2: Sub Points: Transition: Main Point 3: Sub Points: Transition: Main Point 4: Sub Points: Transition: Main Point 5: Sub Points: Transition to Conclusion: CALL TO ACTION (what are you asking the audience to do?): What changes did you make to your visual aid and why? Bibliography MLA format, at least three (3) scholarly sources.
what made his messages so resonant was that he “walked the talk.” Which is to say that he put action behind his words. Here’s what Polman had to say in a 2015 Washington Post interview, which you’ll find in Blackboard: “The issues we are trying to attack with our business model and that need to be solved in the world today—food security, sanitation, employment, climate change—cannot be solved just by quarterly reporting. They require longer-term solutions and not 90-day pressures. I saw a recent study that 75 percent of U.S. chief financial officers would take the wrong decision in the quarter over missing their guidance. You can see how that leads companies to a shorter existence or to making the wrong decisions. In the latest survey of the World Economic Forum, a majority of CEOs said the pressure they’re getting from the board is more about the short term than the long term. So the challenges are there when you do this. The first day I became CEO, I stopped guidance. I figured the first day they hire you, they’re not going to fire you. The share price went down 8 percent, because people thought there must be bad news coming. But I figured if we continued to do the right things for the business, the ultimate valuation would be what it should be. And interestingly, if you don’t give guidance, or quarterly reporting, then also you tend to attract the right shareholder base. You get into a better rhythm to develop the right long-term relationships and the right communication.” VIDEOS I encourage you to stop the lecture at this point and to watch the two videos about Paul Polman that are loaded into this lesson on Blackboard. Just resume this lecture after watching those videos. [Slide 5: CEOs Charlottesville] Page 2 of 9 AS.480.642.81 – CSR Campaigns Leadership Communication This article appeared in Harvard Business review shortly after the 2017 violent events in Charlotttesville, Virginia and then-President Trump’s response to the event, which not only failed to take a stand against the white nationalists but actually blamed both sides for the clash that took one life and shocked most Americans. The authors are Nour Kteily, who researches power hierarchies, and Francesca Gino who studies decision-making including ethical and moral choices. In this article, the authors tackle the issue of leadership responses to unplanned events and social movements. Traditionally, both topics would be firmly out of bounds for any business leader commentary. So the prescriptive advice in this article in many ways groundbreaking. [Slide 6: Audience Segments] The authors segment their guidance by audience segment, which is useful for our conversations. The ramifications of silence are explored across key audience segments: Employees: The cost of staying silent is framed as tarnishing the moral character of a leader. Evokes fears of norm-shifting, erosion of social barriers and erosion of trust — a sense of “am I safe?” Page 3 of 9 AS.480.642.81 – CSR Campaigns Leadership Communication Customers Consumers view leaders more favorably when they participate in issues that matter to them. Think about this less about “having a message” and more about participating in a discussion that matters to others. Next is the calculated decision of expressing a point of view that consumers favor — which will increase sales. [Slide 7: Nike] This certainly proved true with Nike. When they launched the Colin Kapernick “Dream Crazy” campaign, media coverage was instantly negative, and showed videos of people burning their Nike shoes. [Slide 8: Stock Price] The stock price took an immediate tumble in September of 2018, but by the following spring, the stock price soared and has never looked back. [Slide 9 Audience segments] Society Looking at the broader society in which a company earns a license to operate -Americans are interested in and influenced by corporate leaders positions Tim Cook, CEO of Apple expressed concern of discrimination against homosexuals, support for a law in Indiana dropped significantly. Tim lives in California. We’ll look at this issue more closely later in this lecture. Page 4 of 9 AS.480.642.81 – CSR Campaigns Leadership Communication [Slide 10: Guide] So What’s the prescription these authors offered? #1: Tie it to the bottom line: Workplaces and markets are diverse. Walmart CEO reaction “We too felt that he missed a critical opportunity to help bring our country together by unequivocally rejecting the appalling actions of white supremacists.” He added: “Representing a company with the largest and one of the most diverse groups of associates in the U.S., and an even more diverse customer base…” #2: Be painfully clear The authors refer to a study that showed that 88% of workers felt that internal communications from company leaders routinely lacked clarity. Communications clarity is linked to higher levels of engagement — and it’s extremely important when communicating about sensitive, divisive social issues. #3: Encourage employees to support each other: Leaders should explicitly call for employees to unite and support any marginalized group. This action fosters a culture of inclusion and helps marginalized employees feel safe. The authors of this article claim that it is absolutely appropriate for leaders to take a stand and express their core values. I’m not sure I agree with this blank check. There are a lot of leaders I disagree with. Page 5 of 9 AS.480.642.81 – CSR Campaigns Leadership Communication [Slide 11: The New CEO Activists] The second reading we’ll cover in this lecture is called: “The New CEO Activists: A playbook for polarized political times.” BY AARON K. CHATTERJI AND MICHAEL W. TOFFEL This article was written in January 2018 and once again reflects the changing nature of leadership communication—calling into question what constitutes responsible leadership communication today. The authors start by addressing some of the more controversial laws and policy decisions in recent years that have created a sense of alarm in marginalized communities. Their prescriptive guidance and testimonials from prominent CEOs reflect a dramatic change in the norms for leadership messaging. [Slide 12: quote] “Our jobs as CEOs now include driving what we think is right. It’s not exactly political activism but it is action on issues beyond business.” As recently as 2015, this idea was not considered legitimate. If I had told any business leader that their responsibility included communicating on issues beyond their core business operations and stakeholder concerns, they would’ve rolled their eyes. Page 6 of 9 AS.480.642.81 – CSR Campaigns Leadership Communication [Slide 13: Why speak up] Next, the authors examine the reasons why CEOs speak up. They offer three types of motivations: 1. personal conviction 2. commitment to employee values / employee relationships (company purpose/millennials) 3. stewards of a company mission, this is a responsibility they believe they have inherited and that the current environment requires something distinct from them that their predecessors didn’t have to grapple with. [Slide 14 – CEO Tactics] Immediately, the authors distinguish between traditional reactions and activist behaviors. The traditional actions are akin to burying one’s head in the sand or safely side-stepping an issue For activists, the tactics are: 1. Raising awareness: speaking out to create room for dialog, to encourage others to follow in their footsteps, and to keep issues from languishing in the dark. Their channel of preference is Twitter. They’ve also taken collective action. 2. Leveraging economic power: putting economic pressure on states to overturn laws. The Associated Press estimates that the bathroom law cost the state of North Carolina $3.76 billion in lost revenues in a 12-year period. a. Companies can also finance third party groups / issue-based activists [Slide 15: Effectiveness?] The authors admit that we’re in new territory and the long-term impacts are unknown. Page 7 of 9 AS.480.642.81 – CSR Campaigns Leadership Communication [Slide 16: Under Armor] The article cites a comment made by Under Armor CEO Kevin Plank who referred to President Trump as “a real asset for the country.” This occurred shortly after Trump came into office in 2017, which was on January 20th, so the event might have been in February. Still, the stock never regained its market position. [Slide 17: Risk/Reward] Political implications – know your employee and customer base! [Slide 18: Inaction] The cost of silence— Can cause you to suddenly fall out of step with society’s expectations (– amicus brief about Trump’s stance on immigration issues) [Slid 19: Playbook] What to weigh in on: consider consequences of choosing an issue that’s very popular with only one or two key stakeholders. Remember the case study of Monsanto and how their employees loved the company but the public very definitely did not. It’s also clear that individual leaders should consult their leadership teams as opposed to shooting from the hip. When to weigh in: pay attention to timing – of a bill’s passage and the news cycle How to weigh in: how much attention to you want? Consult with inside leaders to make sure you don’t catch people by surprise – but you don’t need to gain consensus. [Slide 20 – end] Page 8 of 9 AS.480.642.81 – CSR Campaigns Leadership Communication This is certainly more than you need to know for this week’s discussion prompt. I hope you found the content interesting and I look forward to reading your discussion threads! Page 9 of 9 SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY Why CEOs Can’t Stay Silent in the Wake of Events Like Charlottesville by Nour Kteily and Francesca Gino AUGUST 21, 2017 Laura Schneider for HBR The last week has been filled with the disconcerting aftermath of the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, leaving many business leaders to wonder how they should react — what they should tell their employees and customers. COPYRIGHT © 2017 HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL PUBLISHING CORPORATION. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 2 A number of CEOs — including Apple’s Tim Cook, Goldman Sachs’s Lloyd Blankfein, and Walmart’s Doug McMillon — have taken strong public stands, condemning white supremacists, racism, and violence and calling for tolerance and unity. And prominent business leaders on White House advisory councils sent a strong message by resigning or disbanding in response to President Trump’s equivocation in condemning the white supremacists at Charlottesville and his blaming both sides for the violence. But other CEOs are still struggling to figure out what is an appropriate response. For those on the fence, here are some considerations. Although the topic is complex, and it may not be easy to find the right words, staying silent sends the wrong signal to employees. It risks them questioning their leader’s moral character, can increase their worries about how their leaders will react to other forms of prejudice and immoral behavior, and can undermine their respect for and trust in their leaders. How about customers’ reactions? Evidence shows that people outside the organization see CEOs more favorably if they take a public stance on current issues, as long as the topic appears relevant to the company’s business. It is especially beneficial for leaders to speak out when their stance is broadly supported, as was the case with Charlottesville: President Trump’s failure to clearly and consistently condemn the “Unite the Right” protesters led to bipartisan criticism and large demonstrations. Evidence from Aaron Chatterji, of Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, and Michael Toffel, of the Harvard Business School, shows that if consumers favor the company’s point of view, it increases their interest in buying the company’s products. In general, Americans care about business leaders’ positions on social issues. In one experiment, Chatterji and Toffel gave almost 3,400 participants information about Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act and a statement that expressed concern about how the law could promote discrimination against homosexuals. When that statement was attributed to the mayor of Indianapolis (versus not attributed to anyone), support for the law dropped substantially. But the same was just as true when the statement was attributed to two CEOs: the then-CEO of Indianapolisbased Angie’s List and Tim Cook of Apple, which is based in Cupertino, California. That the out-ofstate CEO of Apple could have as much impact in shaping attitudes as the city’s mayor highlights the power of CEOs’ bully pulpit. How can CEOs go about using this influence? We’d suggest keeping these three things in mind: Tie it to the bottom line. In an era when workplaces and markets are increasingly racially and ethnically diverse, CEOs should consider making the business case when addressing controversial social issues. In the wake of the event in Charlottesville and the president’s reluctance to lay clear blame for it on white supremacists, Walmart CEO McMillon did just that. He said in a statement: “We too felt that he missed a critical opportunity to help bring our country together by unequivocally rejecting the appalling actions of white supremacists.” He added: “Representing a company with the largest and one of the most diverse groups of associates in the U.S., and an even more diverse COPYRIGHT © 2017 HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL PUBLISHING CORPORATION. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 3 customer base of tens of millions of customers, we believe we should stay engaged to try to influence decisions in a positive way and help bring people together. I will continue to strongly advocate on behalf of our associates and customers, and urge our elected officials to do their part to promote a more just, tolerant and diverse society.” Be painfully clear. It seems obvious to suggest that in communicating to the public and their employees, business leaders should try to avoid ambiguity — but the data suggests this is something they often fail to do. In a survey of over 500 employees across a wide range of industries that one of us conducted, 88% of the respondents indicated that internal communications from their leaders regularly lack clarity. Research has found that when leaders’ communications are clear, their employees’ engagement increases. Clarity is obviously critical when communicating about sensitive social issues. Encourage employees to support each other. Beyond taking a stand on intolerance external or internal to their organizations, leaders should consider explicitly making a call for employees to unite against intolerance and support those who might be its targets. By encouraging their employees to reach out and support one another, leaders can help foster inclusive and productive workplaces, signaling to those who might otherwise feel ostracized or marginalized that they are valued and heard. In these tumultuous times, business leaders shouldn’t worry about whether it is appropriate for them to take a public stand in defending the values that are dear to them and their organizations. It is. Their employees, customers, and society at large look to them to set the right example. When they take a strong public stand against the kind of behavior exhibited in Charlottesville, they are acting in their company’s best interests. Nour Kteily is an assistant professor of management and organizations at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. Francesca Gino is a professor at Harvard Business School, a faculty affiliate of the Behavioral Insights Group at Harvard Kennedy School, and the author of Sidetracked: Why Our Decisions Get Derailed, and How We Can Stick to the Plan (Harvard Business Review Press, 2013). She cochairs an HBS executive education program on applying behavioral economics to organizational problems. Twitter: @francescagino. COPYRIGHT © 2017 HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL PUBLISHING CORPORATION. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 4 Copyright 2017 Harvard Business Publishing. All Rights Reserved. Additional restrictions may apply including the use of this content as assigned course material. Please consult your institution’s librarian about any restrictions that might apply under the license with your institution. For more information and teaching resources from Harvard Business Publishing including Harvard Business School Cases, eLearning products, and business simulations please visit hbsp.harvard.edu. 848144 research-article2019 OAEXXX10.1177/1086026619848144Organization & EnvironmentChatterji and Toffel Article Assessing the Impact of CEO Activism Organization & Environment 2019, Vol. 32(2) 159–185 © The Author(s) 2019 Article reuse guidelines: sagepub.com/journals-permissions https://doi.org/10.1177/1086026619848144 DOI: 10.1177/1086026619848144 journals.sagepub.com/home/oae Aaron K. Chatterji1,2 and Michael W. Toffel3 Abstract CEO activism refers to corporate leaders speaking out on social and environmental policy issues not directly related to their company’s core business, which distinguishes it from nonmarket strategy and traditional corporate social responsibility. In the first study of this phenomenon, we implement two framed field experiments to provide evidence on how CEO activism can influence public opinions about government policies and consumer attitudes about the CEO’s company. Keywords business and society, corporate social policy, leadership, social activism, values, environmental regulations Introduction Business leaders are increasingly engaging in “CEO activism” by taking public stands on social and environmental issues that are not directly related to their company’s core business (Chatterji & Toffel, 2015, 2018) on topics ranging from climate change to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) rights to race relations to gender equality. For example, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Indianapolis-based Angie’s List CEO Bill Oesterle, and a number of other business leaders spoke out publicly against Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) before and immediately after it was signed into law on March 26, 2015 (e.g., Cook, 2015). Several multinational corporation CEOs publicly encouraged world leaders to secure “an ambitious climate deal” at the 2015 Paris climate conference (World Economic Forum, 2015), urged President Trump to remain in the Paris Climate Agreement (Stokols, 2017), and subsequently pledged to abide by that agreement despite the United States’ withdrawal (Gustin, 2017). Unilever CEO Paul Polman has long encouraged CEOs to push for policies to address climate change, and Salesforce CEO Mark Benioff holds periodic dinners to explain why he views public activism as part of the modern CEO’s job. And Merck CEO Ken Frazier stepped down from one of President Trump’s business advisory councils to protest what he viewed as an equivocal response to racial violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. 1Duke University, Durham, NC, USA Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, MA, USA 3Harvard Business School, Boston, MA, USA 2National Corresponding Author: Michael W. Toffel, Harvard Business School, Morgan Hall 415, Boston, MA 02163, USA. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org 160 Organization & Environment 32(2) In an era of dwindling trust in politicians and big business in the United States (Gallup, 2016) but rising expectations that CEOs should publicly engage on public policy debates (Edelman, 2018), it is unclear whether CEO activism can sway public opinion. Recent scholarship has identified public policies aimed at driving sustainability transitions (Delmas, Lyon, & Maxwell, 2019) as one domain where CEOs could play an important role. Our work focuses on these policies, specifically policies related to enhancing environmental sustainability and improving human rights. We also explore whether CEO activism will bolster brand loyalty or trigger a backlash against the CEO’s company by examining whether CEO activism can influence political and consumer attitudes. Our research is, to our knowledge, the first study to examine the potential impacts of CEO activism, complementing the literature that has explored the strategic implications of corporate social responsibility (CSR; e.g., McWilliams, Siegel, & Wright, 2006) and the influence of companies’ nonmarket strategies (e.g., Dahan, Hadani, & Schuler, 2013; Eesley & Lenox, 2006; Hadani, Bonardi, & Dahan, 2017). Moreover, our research addresses the call for more attention on how the private sector is influencing public policy, especially with regard to CSR and sustainability topics (Lyon et al., 2018). Although some customers might view CEO activism favorably, others might be alienated by it, as was the case when protests erupted after Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy spoke out against gay marriage in 2012 and when Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz was ridiculed for his Race Together campaign. We assess whether CEO activism can positively or negatively influence consumers’ purchasing intent and explore whether this effect is moderated by the alignment of consumers’ political preferences with the CEO’s. We view the statements of Cook, Oesterle, Frazier, Cathy, and other corporate leaders as distinct from nonmarket strategy (Baron, 2012; Hadani, Dahan, & Doh, 2015; Rudy & Johnson, 2016), strategic CSR (Mazutis, 2013; McWilliams et al., 2006), and other kinds of corporate engagement with the public sphere (e.g., Su & Sauerwald, 2018). As we discuss below, CEO activism focuses on the CEO (as opposed to the organization) as the agent and on public activity rather than on the blend of public and private activities that characterizes related phenomena. Furthermore, CEO activism entails corporate leaders speaking out on issues that are largely unrelated to their company’s core business. Although race relations and gay marriage are certainly relevant to the employees of Merck and Chick-fil-A, it is challenging to directly tie gains in these areas to those companies’ operating performance. As such, CEO activism differs from firms pursuing nonmarket strategies intended to shape the rules of the marketplace to promote their bottom line. We conducted a framed field experiment (Delmas & Aragon-Correa, 2016; Harrison & List, 2004)1 to investigate the effects of CEO activism on public opinion and consumer attitudes in the specific context of Cook’s statements on Indiana’s RFRA and in the efforts of several corporate leaders to shape public opinion on regulation to mitigate the effects of climate change. While RFRA was then a new topic, climate change had been in the news for more than a decade. We adopt broadly similar approaches in studying both RFRA and climate change, with some important distinctions. To investigate the influence on public opinion with respect to human rights, we designed a set of one-question surveys on RFRA that asked respondents to indicate their support for the law.2 In our baseline condition, we simply asked respondents whether they supported RFRA. In another condition, we prefaced this question with an unattributed statement indicating that some were concerned that this law would allow discrimination. Other conditions attributed this concern to Cook, to another business leader, or to particular politicians. We crafted our research design to discern whether mentioning the discrimination concern—and who expressed it—affected public support for the law. We developed a second set of one-question surveys to assess the influence of Cook’s CEO activism on consumers’ intent to purchase Apple products in the near future. We primed each respondent with a statement describing Cook’s generic management philosophy, or Chatterji and Toffel 161 with one describing Cook’s opinion of RFRA, or with no statement at all. We then asked respondents to indicate their intent to purchase Apple products. We created these alternative versions to evaluate whether informing respondents about Cook’s opinions affected their intent to purchase Apple products and whether the content of his opinions (generic management philosophy vs. CEO activism) mattered. As described below, we randomly deployed these various survey conditions among respondents. We find that exposure to Cook’s statement that RFRA may allow discrimination resulted in 40% of respondents supporting the law, substantially less than the 50% support reported by respondents who were not prompted with this statement; this was a statistically significant difference. We observed similar lower levels of support, ranging from 38% to 42%, among respondents who were presented with statements containing language identical to Cook’s but attributed to another CEO or to a politician or not attributed to anyone. These results reveal that CEO activism can shape public opinion by framing the public discourse and suggest that they can do so as effectively as statements by politicians or unattributed remarks. The power of framing arguments to persuade audiences has been demonstrated in other settings (Grewal, Gotlieb, & Marmorstein, 1994; Lakoff, 2004; Scheufele & Tewksbury, 2007), but not every activist commands a large audience. Because the media often widely report CEO statements (Westphal & Deephouse, 2011)—especially on contentious topics—our results imply that when CEOs frame public discourse, they have the potential to shape public policy. We also find suggestive evidence that the effect of framing depends on the audience. Our subsample analysis reveals that Cook’s discrimination remarks erode RFRA support among advocates of same-sex marriage, but not among opponents. By contrast, the unattributed statements of concern that RFRA would allow discrimination do erode support for the law even among same-sex-marriage opponents. Turning to the potential influence of CEO activism on consumers, we find higher intent to purchase Apple products among respondents who were exposed to Cook’s CEO activism than among those who were not. (Even if respondents in the control group were aware of Cook’s advocacy through other channels, it would introduce bias against finding a difference between the groups.) We find strong evidence indicating that Cook’s CEO activism, and not simply the mention of him, drives this effect. Moreover, we find that same-sex-marriage supporters drive this effect; we find no evidence that Cook’s statements altered the purchase intent of same-sexmarriage opponents. These results suggest that CEO activism can serve as a signal, letting consumers know where a company leader stands on a controversial issue and potentially galvanizing support and generating goodwill for the company, especially among those who already support the CEO’s stance. Next, we test whether CEO activism can have an influence on attitudes toward climate change. Employing the same approach as above, we ask users the following baseline question: “Do you think the U.S. government is doing too much, too little, or about the right amount in terms of addressing climate change?” We then run several variations of treatments, prefacing this question with preambles stating that “CEOs from many S&P 500 companies,” “many award-winning actors,” or “some” individuals believe that climate change is one of the biggest threats confronting various entities, including our country, our economy, or the next generation. We find no statistically significant impacts from these treatments and no evidence that CEOs as an unnamed group are more effective advocates than others, including celebrities. Moreover, we find no evidence that the influence of climate change messages varies depending on whether the issue is framed in economic, nationalistic, or moral terms. As we detail below, we reflect on the extent to which these results might relate to our choice of unnamed groups of individuals as opposed to a single, identifiable CEO and the underlying differences between climate change and LGBTQ rights. Our results provide some evidence that CEOs can shape public opinion and purchasing intent. However, the findings, particularly of Study 2, should also remind us of the limitations of this 162 Organization & Environment 32(2) approach to sparking transformative change, such as the sustainability transitions discussed further below. Next, we expand on the motivation for the study and discuss our experimental design. After presenting our results, we formulate implications for CEOs and other business leaders seeking to promote political and social change. Motivation Firms have long pursued nonmarket strategies that aim to shape the rules of the marketplace; for example, by seeking to influence government policies on taxation, subsidies, trade, human resources, the environment, and other issues (e.g., Baron, 1995, 2012; Bonardi, Holburn, & Vanden Bergh, 2006). CEOs are sometimes the key principals in executing nonmarket strategies, as when Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella lobbied Congress to change U.S. immigration policy to allow in more high-skilled workers, the very kind his firm relies on (Romm, 2014). Many firms have also embarked on nonmarket strategies to promote environmental sustainability, such as when General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt advocated that the U.S. government adopt clean energy policies (Behr, 2010) that would promote his firm’s large wind-turbine business, or when wind and solar company leaders encouraged ever higher renewable portfolio standards to encourage more environmentally friendly sources of electricity generation, and Dupont’s public support for the Montreal Protocol to phase out many ozone-depleting substances. Because these are nonmarket strategies, these instances constituted “win-wins”: firms were attempting to change the rules of the game as part of their profit motive, and the rule changes they were advocating would also improve environmental quality. Beyond efforts to shape the rules of the marketplace in ways that directly increase corporate profits, firms sometimes take public stances on issues that shape society more broadly that concern corporations and their leaders. For example, many companies rallied during the 1980s to defend affirmative action programs by filing amicus briefs in court cases and testifying to Congressional bodies (Kelly & Dobbin, 1998). Some firms conduct ambitious programs to help underserved communities, such as Goldman Sachs’s 10,000 Women program, which provides business training to women around the world (Goldman Sachs, 2016). While the nonmarket strategy literature typically studies private and public actions by firms to shape institutions to their advantage, CEO activism is a public stand by the CEO on a controversial political and social issue. There are at least three points of differentiation between nonmarket strategy and CEO activism to emphasize. First, the locus of action in CEO activism is the individual not the firm. Second, CEO activism is always public. Third, the audience for CEO activism is not only regulators and politicians, as is typically assumed in nonmarket strategy, but also employees, consumers, and the public at large. In this manner, CEO activism is aimed at communicating a CEO’s values to important stakeholders, rather than trying to change a policy that to directly impact the bottom line. In doing so, the CEO may use public forums like social media, opinion editorials, interviews, or a public meeting with politicians to make their views known. Such actions, however, face two kinds of critique. First, the literature on “strategic CSR” (Lantos, 2001; McWilliams et al., 2006; Porter & Kramer, 2006) argues that if these efforts are not closely aligned with the organization’s core business, their social impact will be limited. Second, these corporate initiatives suffer enduring suspicion that they are thinly veiled attempts to enhance brand equity and attract customers, rather than good-faith efforts to translate corporate values into social impact (e.g., Hess & Warren, 2008; Karnani, 2010; Lyon & Maxwell, 2011). These concerns make it challenging for companies to become “activists” for social causes. Business leaders, however, have the opportunity to speak out as individuals to try to influence social issues. We view the statements of Cook, Cathy, Schultz, and other corporate leaders as Chatterji and Toffel 163 examples of this kind of activity—that is, as CEO activism—which is distinct from nonmarket strategy, strategic CSR, and other kinds of corporate engagement with the public sphere. As noted, these corporate leaders are speaking out on issues that are largely unrelated to their core businesses. Although race relations, gender equality, and LGBTQ rights are certainly relevant to the employees of Starbucks, Facebook, and Goldman Sachs, policy changes in these areas have not traditionally been thought to drive those companies’ short-term operating performance. When Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke out against Indiana’s RFRA, Apple was already perceived as providing an attractive working environment for LGBTQ employees (Frank, 2013) and the company is primarily located in California, where there was no threat of similar legislation (Berry, 2014). Moreover, Cook’s rationale was rooted in ethical objections as opposed to an immediate business imperative. This example could be contrasted with the Apple CEO opposing tariffs on Chinese imports, which he argued would directly impact firm performance.3 However, the relationship between CEO activism and company performance is more complex. Simply because RFRA is unrelated to Apple’s core business does not necessarily mean that taking a stand against the law will not affect Apple’s profits. By taking a stand on a political issue viewed as unrelated to his company’s bottom line, Tim Cook could be communicating his values to consumers and employees, which could forge a strong bond between Apple and stakeholders who agree with his position. To the extent that consumers weigh the political positions of CEOs, CEO activism on unrelated political and social issues could affect performance. We will test this notion below. Although numerous studies have examined corporate campaign contributions (e.g., Ansolabehere, Figueiredo, & Snyder, 2003), lobbying (e.g., Hillman, Keim, & Schuler, 2004), and CSR (e.g., Margolis & Walsh, 2003), we know of no research that has directly explored CEO activism, although two recent studies found that consumers’ willingness to buy products and services might be affected by whether they support the political and social stances associated with the firm (Dodd & Supa, 2014; Mikeska & Harvey, 2015). Our study focuses on the role of individual leaders and not only examines the influence of CEO activism on purchasing intent, but also compares the influence that business and political leaders’ social statements have on public opinion on a given issue. Ascribing causality from a relationship between CEO activism and particular outcomes is especially difficult using traditional empirical methods because business leaders might champion causes that are already popular or might simply add their voices to a chorus of advocates already promoting the same position. To explore these questions while overcoming such methodological challenges, we deployed a framed field experiment (described below)—a technique rarely used in research on strategy or business and public policy (Chatterji, Findley, Jensen, Meier, & Nielson, 2016). Data and Measures Study 1 In Study 1, we developed a survey to gather data on how CEO activism affects an individual’s (a) views on the relevant policy issue and (b) intention to purchase the company’s products. To avoid cross-contamination, we asked each subject a single question about either public policy preference or purchase intent. RFRA Policy Support. To assess a respondent’s public policy preference, we developed six versions of a question that inquired about the respondent’s views on RFRA, the Indiana legislation discussed above. Our treatment condition provided the following preamble and question: 164 Organization & Environment 32(2) “Apple CEO Tim Cook recently expressed his concern about Indiana’s new law about religious freedom because he believes the law may allow discrimination against gays and lesbians in that state. Do you support this law?” For this and all other versions of the question, the variable RFRA policy support was coded 1 for yes and 0 for no.4 To assess whether views were shaped by the particular individual to whom the statement was attributed, other respondents received a version of this question in which we replaced “Apple CEO Tim Cook” with one of the following corporate or political leaders: “Indiana-based Angie’s List CEO Bill Oesterle,” “The Republican mayor of Indianapolis,” and “The mayor of Indianapolis.” Each of these leaders actually did speak out against the law. For example, Indianapolis’s Republican mayor, Greg Ballard, issued statements opposing it before and after it passed (Terkel, 2015).5 To assess whether attribution in itself shaped respondents’ views, another group of respondents received the following version, which provided no attribution: “Indiana recently passed a law about religious freedom, and some believe the law may allow discrimination against gays and lesbians in that state. Do you support this law?” This unattributed version is akin to a traditional political or product advertisement, or retweet on Twitter, when the author is ambiguous or unrecognized.6 We asked one group of respondents a baseline version of the question that omitted the preamble about discrimination and simply asked, “Do you support Indiana’s new law protecting religious freedom?” We acknowledge that mentioning the term discrimination might trigger social-desirability bias that could erode expressed support for the religious freedom policy and that this could explain the difference in RFRA policy support between those exposed to the unframed condition (which does not mention discrimination) and those exposed to any of the conditions that do mention discrimination. However, because all conditions that mention discrimination are subject to the same social-desirability bias, such bias ought not to influence our comparisons between conditions that differ only in terms of who frames the law as discriminatory. Purchasing Intent. To proxy for consumer response to CEO activism, we rely on “intent to purchase,” a dependent variable commonly used in the marketing literature to measure the likelihood that a consumer will eventually purchase a product (Bemmaor, 1995; Cobb-Walgren, Ruble, & Donthu, 1995; Fishbein & Ajzen, 1975; Infosino, 1986; Morwitz & Schmittlein, 1992; Sewall, 1978; Silk & Urban, 1978). We address the limitations of this measure—namely, that we cannot observe actual purchases in our data—in the discussion section. We developed three versions of a question about the intention to purchase Apple products. Our treatment condition provided the same preamble described above along with a purchase-intent question: “Apple CEO Tim Cook recently expressed his concern about Indiana’s new law about religious freedom because he believes the law may allow discrimination against gays and lesbians in that state. How likely are you to buy Apple products in the near future?” For this and all other versions of this question, we asked participants to respond based on the following 5-point Likert scale: “Definitely not” (coded 1) “Not likely” (2), “Not sure” (3), “Likely” (4), or “Very likely” (5). We assign these values to the variable purchase intent. Other respondents faced an alternative question that provided a preamble about Cook’s management philosophy: “Apple CEO Tim Cook recently said his management philosophy was to focus on people, strategy, and execution. How likely are you to buy Apple products in the near future?” A different set of respondents faced our control condition, which omitted any preamble and simply asked about purchase intent: “How likely are you to buy Apple products in the near future?” To summarize the design of Study 1, each respondent to this study replied to one of the following 9 questions, which were deployed randomly to respondents (Exhibit 1). 165 Chatterji and Toffel Exhibit 1. The Nine Conditions of Study 1. Condition RFRA policy support question with no framing (unframed condition) RFRA policy question with Cook condition RFRA policy support question with Oesterle condition RFRA policy support question with Rep. mayor condition RFRA policy support question with Mayor condition RFRA policy support question with Unattributed condition Intention to purchase question with no framing (unframed condition) Intention to purchase question with Cook discrimination framing Intention to purchase question with Cook business-philosophy framing Survey Question Do you support Indiana’s new law protecting religious freedom? Apple CEO Tim Cook recently expressed his concern about Indiana’s new law about religious freedom because he believes the law may allow discrimination against gays and lesbians in that state. Do you support this law? Indiana-based Angie’s List CEO Bill Oesterle recently expressed his concern about Indiana’s new law about religious freedom because he believes the law may allow discrimination against gays and lesbians in that state. Do you support this law? The Republican mayor of Indianapolis recently expressed his concern about Indiana’s new law about religious freedom because he believes the law may allow discrimination against gays and lesbians in that state. Do you support this law? The mayor of Indianapolis recently expressed his concern about Indiana’s new law about religious freedom because he believes the law may allow discrimination against gays and lesbians in that state. Do you support this law? Indiana recently passed a law about religious freedom, and some believe the law may allow discrimination against gays and lesbians in that state. Do you support this law? How likely are you to buy Apple products in the near future? Apple CEO Tim Cook recently expressed his concern about Indiana’s new law about religious freedom because he believes the law may allow discrimination against gays and lesbians in that state. How likely are you to buy Apple products in the near future? Apple CEO Tim Cook recently said his management philosophy was to focus on people, strategy, and execution. How likely are you to buy Apple products in the near future? Study 2 Our second study explores the extent to which CEO activism can influence public opinion on the extent to which the United States federal government should address climate change. Support for Government Policy to Mitigate Effects of Climate Change. Following the same general approach as in Study 1, we used the following baseline question: “Do you think the U.S. government is doing too much, too little, or about the right amount in terms of addressing climate change?” We coded these responses based on a 3-point Likert scale: “Too much” (coded 1), “About the right amount” (2), or “Too little” (3). We assign these values to the variable climate change policy support. We then randomly presented participants with either the baseline question alone, or the question prefaced with one of nine different preambles to explore the mechanisms by which CEO activism could impact public opinion. The preamble cites one group—either “CEOs from many S&P 500 companies,” “Many award-winning actors,” or “Some”—who “believe that climate change is one of the biggest threats confronting” either “our country,” “our economy,” or “the next generation.” 166 Organization & Environment 32(2) Exhibit 2. The 10 Conditions of Study 2. Condition groupings Threat to economy Threat to country Threat to next generation Agent is “CEOs” Agent is “Actors” Agent is “Some” CEOs/economy condition— Actors/economy condition— Some/economy condition— CEOs from many S&P 500 Many award-winning Some believe that companies believe that actors believe that climate change is one climate change is one of the climate change is one of the biggest threats biggest threats confronting of the biggest threats confronting our our economy. Do you think confronting our economy. economy. Do you think the U.S. government is doing Do you think the U.S. the U.S. government too much, too little, or government is doing too is doing too much, about the right amount in much, too little, or about too little, or about the terms of addressing climate the right amount in terms right amount in terms change? of addressing climate of addressing climate change? change? CEOs/country condition— Actors/country condition— Some/country condition— CEOs from many S&P 500 Many award-winning Some believe that companies believe that actors believe that climate change is one climate change is one of the climate change is one of the biggest threats biggest threats confronting of the biggest threats confronting our country. our Country. Do you think confronting our country. Do you think the U.S. the U.S. government is doing Do you think the U.S. government is doing too much, too little, or government is doing too too much, too little, or about the right amount in much, too little, or about about the right amount terms of addressing climate the right amount in terms in terms of addressing change? of addressing climate climate change? change? CEOs/next generation Actors/next generation Some/next generation condition—CEOs from condition—Many awardcondition—Some believe many S&P 500 companies winning actors believe that climate change believe that climate change that climate change is is one of the biggest is one of the biggest threats one of the biggest threats threats confronting confronting the next confronting the next the next generation. generation. Do you think generation. Do you think Do you think the U.S. the U.S. government is doing the U.S. government is government is doing too much, too little, or doing too much, too little, too much, too little, or about the right amount in or about the right amount about the right amount terms of addressing climate in terms of addressing in terms of addressing change? climate change? climate change? Unframed condition— Do you think the U.S. government is doing too much, too little, or about the right amount in terms of addressing climate change? To summarize the design of Study 2, each respondent to this study replied to one of the 10 questions in Exhibit 2, which were deployed randomly to respondents. By attributing the statement to different groups, we seek to isolate the general impact of CEO activism, avoiding any confounding factors directly related to a particularly well-known CEO such as Tim Cook. Moreover, including “many award-winning actors” in some conditions enables us to distinguish the influence of CEOs and such actors, whom some view as celebrities. Furthermore, by randomizing the focal point of the statement between “country,” “economy,” and “the next generation,” we seek to understand whether CEO activism is more effective when framed in economic terms, which aligns with their public image as business leaders, than when they refer to national pride or moral arguments. Chatterji and Toffel 167 Survey Implementation We worked with market research firm CivicScience to gather data on our survey questions. CivicScience collects over 300,000 survey responses each day via approximately 250 third-party websites in categories such as newspapers, television and radio stations, and entertainment (Pierce, Rogers, & Snyder, 2015). CivicScience installs a “survey widget” on these websites to conduct surveys that consist of a series of three questions: an “engagement” question, then a “value” question, and finally a “profile” question.7 CivicScience maintains lists of these questions and draws from each list at random so that the three questions it poses to any given user are the result of three random draws. CivicScience designs engagement questions to attract a user’s attention. Engagement questions typically ask about current events or other topics relevant to the website on which the survey is being conducted. The value question, presented second, is most important for market research and is the one that clients typically pay CivicScience to ask, such as “What are the most important features you will look for in buying your next smartphone?” The alternative versions of our questions were positioned as value questions. Civic Science reported that among respondents who completed an engagement question and then viewed one of our value questions, more than 95% responded to it across both studies, giving us an attrition rate of less than 5%. Given that our value question randomly appears after respondents answer the first question and that the attrition rate is so low, it seems unlikely that individuals are “selecting” into answering our question because of existing political beliefs or other factors. CivicScience designs the third and final question, the profile question, to ask for a demographic characteristic such as gender, age bracket, income bracket, or a psychographic trait. CivicScience randomly selects the particular profile question to ask from a pool of many alternatives. As described below, our analysis used data from one of these profile questions: “Do you support or oppose the legalization of same-sex marriage in your state?”8 CivicScience accumulates information about people who respond to several of its surveys if their Web browsers have cookies enabled. This process enabled us to obtain CivicScience data on multiple demographic variables for respondents who had previously answered CivicScience surveys before our questions were deployed. CivicScience began administering the survey for Study 1 on April 2, 2015, the day Indiana’s governor signed a revised version of RFRA. We asked the firm to gather data for 2 weeks, ceasing on April 15. CivicScience administered the survey for Study 2 over the 2-week period of December 16, 2016, through January 1, 2017. Sample sizes are reported in Tables 1 and 3 for each group of Study 1 respondents, and in Table 7 for each group of Study 2 respondents. CivicScience stratifies its target respondents based on gender and age strata and makes realtime adjustments while surveys are underway to ensure that respondents are nationally representative along these dimensions.9 As a result, the distributions of these demographic characteristics are very similar between each of our samples and the U.S. population. Females make up 48% of our Study 1 sample and 47% of our Study 2 sample, both of which are very similar to 51% of the U.S. population according to the 2010 Census. The distributions in our two samples also closely approximate to the U.S. population in terms of age groups10 and household income.11 In terms of race, our sample has a slightly higher proportion of Whites (84% for Study 1; 79% for Study 2), and thus fewer minorities, than the national population that is 72% White according to the 2010 Census. We believe that the method by which Civic Science collects survey responses is an appropriate methodological approach for answering our research questions. First, while Civic Science does not know who views the engagement questions and then chooses not to answer them, we do know that conditional on answering the engagement question that preceded our survey questions, which were randomly deployed, nearly all individuals who were then presented with one of our 168 Organization & Environment 32(2) Table 1. Policy Support for RFRA Under Alternative Framings. Framing condition Survey question Unframed Do you support Indiana’s new law protecting religious freedom? Cook Apple CEO Tim Cook recently expressed his concern about Indiana’s new law about religious freedom because he believes the law may allow discrimination against gays and lesbians in that state. Do you support this law? Indiana-based Angie’s List CEO Bill Oesterle recently expressed … The Republican mayor of Indianapolis recently expressed … The mayor of Indianapolis recently expressed . . . Oesterle Rep. mayor Mayor Unattributed Indiana recently passed a law about religious freedom, and some believe the law may allow discrimination against gays and lesbians in that state. Do you support this law? Mean RFRA policy support [95% confidence interval] Sample size (N) 50.0% [45.9% to 54.2%] N = 557 40.2% [36.1% to 44.2%] N = 549 41.1% [37.0% to 45.3%] N = 540 41.5% [37.8% to 45.2%] N = 687 37.7% [33.6% to 41.9%] N = 519 39.9% [35.9% to 44.0%] N = 566 Two-sample tests of proportions Comparison to Cook condition Comparison to unattributed condition z = 3.29 p < .01 z = 3.42 p < .01 (benchmark) z = −0.11 p = .91 z = 2.88 p = .77 z = −0.40 p = .69 z = 0.44 p = .66 z = −0.56 p = .58 z = −0.84 p = .40 z = 0.73 p = .47 z = −0.11 p = .91 (benchmark) Note. Two-sample tests of proportions were conducted using Stata’s prtest command. 95% CI refers to Agresti–Coull binomial confidence intervals, used here to accommodate the dichotomous nature of RCRA policy support. survey questions provided a response (95% for both studies). These statistics imply that attrition is not introducing significant bias in the responses. Second, because Civic Science constructs samples to approximate the American population as a whole, the demographic characteristics of our respondents do not appear to be biased in a way that would affect the interpretation of our results. Analysis and Results Study 1: RFRA Policy Support To analyze whether CEO activism influenced public support for RFRA, we conducted several two-sample tests of proportions that assess whether the average level of RFRA policy support differed among the groups of respondents who received our alternative questions.12 Table 1 reports mean levels of RFRA policy support along with 95% Agresti–Coull binomial confidence intervals13 and the results of the two-sample tests of proportions. Compared to the 50% RFRA policy support among respondents to the unframed question, the 40.2% RFRA policy support Chatterji and Toffel 169 Figure 1. Policy support for RFRA after three alternative framing conditions. Note. This figure reports average levels of RFRA policy support after each framing condition, along with 95% Agresti– Coull binomial confidence intervals that accommodate the dichotomous nature of this variable. among respondents to the question following Tim Cook’s discrimination framing was statistically significantly less (z = 3.29, p < .01). Additional results in Table 1 indicate indistinguishable RFRA policy support levels across all discrimination framing conditions, whether the discrimination concern was attributed to Cook, Angie’s List CEO Bill Oesterle, the Republican mayor of Indianapolis, or just the mayor of Indianapolis—or was not attributed to anyone in particular. These results indicate that the discrimination framing, irrespective of which of these individuals did the framing—or even whether the framed statement was attributed to anyone at all—drove the decrease in public support. These results also suggest that CEOs and politicians have commensurate ability to influence the public debate by framing issues in a particular manner. Figure 1 depicts RFRA policy support levels associated with three of our conditions: unframed, the Cook discrimination framing, and the unattributed discrimination framing. To explore potential heterogeneity in how public opinion might be swayed by CEO activism, we explored whether and how RFRA policy support differed between respondents who indicated support or opposition in response to the following question: “Do you support or oppose the legalization of same-sex marriage in your state?” Table 2 reports these results. Among supporters of same-sex-marriage legalization, the RFRA garnered only 14.3% RFRA policy support from those responding to the unframed question, which fell significantly to zero support from those responding to the question framed by Cook as discrimination (z = 2.32, p = .02). This unanimous opposition associated with the Cook discrimination framing condition represents less backing than the 8.3% RFRA policy support exhibited by the group primed with the unattributed discrimination statement (z = −1.74, p = .08). Although these results are based on small samples (approximately 30 respondents per cell), they suggest that 170 Organization & Environment 32(2) Table 2. Policy Support for RFRA Under Alternative Framings, by Respondents’ Opinion on Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage in Their State. Support legalizing same-sex marriage Framing condition Unframed Cook Unattributed Mean RFRA policy support [95% CI] Sample size (N) 14.3% [5.8% to 29.9%] N = 35 0.0% [0.0% to 11.8%] N = 35 8.3% [1.2% to 27.0%] N = 24 Oppose legalizing same-sex marriage Two-sample tests of proportions } } z = 2.32 p = .02 z = −1.74 p = .08 Mean RFRA policy support [95% CI] Sample size (N) 91.7% [81.5% to 96.8%] N = 60 90.0% [78.2% to 96.1%] N = 50 70.2% [57.3% to 80.5%] N = 57 Two-sample tests of proportions } } z = 0.30 p = .76 z = 2.53 p = .01 Note. Two-sample tests of proportions were conducted using Stata’s prtest command. 95% CI refers to Agresti–Coull binomial confidence intervals, used here to accommodate the dichotomous nature of RFRA policy support. Table 3. Intention to Purchase Apple Products Under Alternative Framings. Two-sample t tests Framing condition Framing preceding question: “How likely are you to buy Apple products in the near future?” Mean Purchase intent [95% CI] Sample size (N) Unframed (none) 2.70 [2.60-2.80] N = 738 3.02 [2.92-3.12] N = 727 (benchmark) 2.87 [2.78-2.97] N = 711 t = −2.46 p = .01 Cook discrimination framing Cook businessphilosophy framing Apple CEO Tim Cook recently expressed his concern about Indiana’s new law about religious freedom because he believes the law may allow discrimination against gays and lesbians in that state. Apple CEO Tim Cook recently said his management philosophy was to focus on people, strategy, and execution. Comparison to unframed condition t = −4.42 p < .01 Comparison between Cook conditions t = −2.08 p = .04 CEO activism can be more persuasive than unattributed messages among those who are likely to agree with the CEO activist’s message. In contrast, among those who are likely to disagree with the CEO activist’s message—here, opponents of same-sex-marriage legalization—CEO activism can backfire. In our study, same-sex marriage opponents in the unframed condition were very supportive of RFRA: RFRA policy support averaged 91.7%. Same-sex marriage opponents’ support for RFRA was nearly identical (90.0%) among those responding to the discrimination condition associated with Cook, whereas support was a much lower 70.2% among those who responding to the unattributed discrimination framing; this different was statistically significant (z = 2.53, p = .01). That same-sex-marriage opponents were more Chatterji and Toffel 171 persuaded by the unattributed message than by the same message attributed to Cook reveals that CEO activism can sometimes be counterproductive and that CEOs wishing to persuade some groups might be more effective funding unattributed messages rather than speaking out themselves.14 Together, these heterogeneous results suggest that the influence of CEO activism depends on the audience. In this case, Cook may be more credible and persuasive to same-sex-marriage supporters—especially given his public statement in 2014 that he is gay— than he is to same-sex-marriage opponents. Study 1: Purchasing Intent and RFRA A one-way ANOVA indicates that purchase intent differed significantly across the unframed condition, the Cook discrimination framing, and the Cook business–philosophy framing (F = 10.21; p < .01).15 To further analyze the effects of CEO activism on consumers’ intent to purchase the company’s products, we conducted a series of two-sample t tests comparing these three groups of survey respondents. Table 3 reports these results. Purchase intent among those primed with Cook’s discrimination framing averaged 3.02, significantly higher than both (a) the group of respondents who answered the unframed question (average 2.70, t = −4.42, p < .01) and (b) the group of respondents who were primed with Cook’s business philosophy (average 2.87, t = −2.08, p = .04). Interestingly, the 2.87 average purchase intent among those primed with Cook’s business philosophy was significantly higher than the 2.70 average among respondents to the unframed question (t = −2.46, p = .01). Together, these results indicate that merely mentioning Tim Cook increased consumers’ intention to purchase Apple products and that Cook’s CEO activism increased it further. Figure 2 illustrates purchase-intent levels associated with the unframed condition, the Cook discrimination framing, and the Cook business–philosophy framing. Table 4 reports how these framing effects differed between those who supported the legalization of same-sex marriage and those who opposed it. Among supporters, purchase intent averaged 2.47 for those responding to the unframed question but 3.48, significantly higher (t = −4.50, p < .01), for those responding to Cook’s discrimination-framed statement. Purchase intent among supporters primed by Cook’s business-philosophy statement averaged 3.20, also significantly higher than the 2.47 average for unframed responses (t = −3.20, p < .01) and statistically indistinguishable from the 3.48 average among those primed by the Cook discrimination framing (t = −1.29, p = .20). In summary, for same-sex-marriage supporters, Cook’s framing bolstered purchasing intent, especially when he described RFRA as discriminatory toward gays and lesbians. A different pattern emerged among opponents of same-sex marriage. Purchase intent averaged 2.47 for those responding to the unframed question, statistically indistinguishable from the 2.29 average for those primed by Cook’s discrimination statement (t = 1.05, p = .30) and the 2.66 average for those primed by Cook’s business philosophy (t = −1.21, p = .22). While our results fail to find statistically significant evidence that same-sex marriage opponents reduce their purchasing behavior once exposed to the Cook discrimination frame, the average purchase intent does decline (from 2.47 to 2.29), which is directionally consistent. It is possible that limited power due to our small subsamples here (120 and 107 respondents) thwarts our ability to detect a significant difference. Moreover, the difference between the two Cook conditions is statistically significant (t = −2.09, p = .04), which indicates that when Apple products are associated with the company’s CEO, Cook’s CEO activism can backfire by eroding purchasing intent among those who disagree with his position.16 In summary, our subsample analyses suggest that CEO activists may have considerably more influence on some audiences than others and that CEO activism is a double-edged sword that can promote or erode purchasing intent, depending on the audience. 172 Organization & Environment 32(2) Figure 2. Intent to purchase Apple products after three alternative framing conditions. Note. This figure reports average levels of purchase intent after each framing condition, along with 95% confidence intervals. Study 2: Climate Change Policy Support Tables 5 to 7 report the results of Study 2. The respondents in our baseline condition, who were simply asked the question without being primed with any of our framing conditions, exhibited a moderate preference for more government policy. Their average climate change policy support was 2.26 (95% confidence interval of 2.21-2.32), between “about the right amount” (coded 2) and “too little” (coded 3). Table 5 displays aggregate results (across all three agents) for the conditions that refer to each threat target: “the economy,” “our country,” and “the next generation.” Referring to climate change as on the biggest threats to the next generation yielded the exact same average climate change policy support as the unframed condition (2.26). Referring to climate change as one of the biggest threats to the economy or our country each yielded slightly higher average support for policy intervention (2.30), but none of the groups exposed to these threat target frames exhibit statistically significant different average levels of climate change policy support than the unframed condition. Turning to comparisons between the threat target frames, we find that average climate change policy support is 2.30 for those whose messages were framed by threats to the economy or to our country, and is slightly lower at 2.26 for those whose messages were framed by the next generation; the difference between the latter and each of the former groups is marginally statistically significant (t test p = .08). In other words, referring to climate change as one of the biggest threats to the economy or country engenders more support for policy intervention than referring to climate change as one of the biggest threats to the next generation. Table 6 displays aggregate results (across all three threats) for the conditions that refer to each agent: “CEOs from many S&P 500 companies,” “Many award-winning actors,” and “Some.” 173 Cook businessphilosophy framing Cook discrimination framing Unframed Framing condition Subsample: 2.47 [2.13-2.80] N = 62 3.48 [3.18-3.78] N = 84 3.20 [2.88-3.51] N = 61 Mean Purchase intent [95% CI] Sample size (N) t = −3.20 p < .01 t = −4.50 p < .01 (benchmark) Comparison to unframed condition t = −1.29 p = .20 Comparison between Cook conditions Two-sample t tests Same-sex-marriage supporters 2.47 [2.26-2.68] N = 120 2.29 [2.03-2.55] N = 107 2.66 [2.42-2.91] N = 98 Mean Purchase intent [95% CI] Sample size N t = −1.21 p = .22 t = 1.05 p = .30 (benchmark) Comparison to unframed condition t = −2.09 p = .04 Comparison between Cook conditions Two-sample t tests Same-sex-marriage opponents Table 4. Intention to Purchase Apple Products Under Alternative Framings, by Respondents’ Opinion on Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage in Their State. 174 [Agent] believe that climate change is one of the biggest threats confronting our economy. [Agent] believe that climate change is one of the biggest threats confronting our country. [Agent] believe that climate change is one of the biggest threats confronting the next generation. Threat to economy 2.26 [2.21-2.32] N = 921 2.30 [2.26-2.34] N = 1,877 2.30 [2.26-2.34] N = 2,002 2.26 [2.22 – 2.29] N = 2,705 Mean Climate change policy support [95% confidence interval] Sample size (N) Note. [Agent] refers to “CEOs from many S&P 500 companies,” “Many award-winning actors,” or “Some. Threat to next generation Threat to country (None) Unframed Framing conditions aggregated by threat target Framing preceding question: “Do you think the U.S. government is doing too much, too little, or about the right amount in terms of addressing climate change?” Table 5. Public Support for Climate Change Policy, by Threat. t = −0.05 p = .96 t = −1.76 p = .08 t = −1.15 p = .25 t = 0.15 p = .88 t = −1.73 p = .08 (benchmark) t = 0.05 p = .96 t = −1.15 p = .25 t = −1.19 p = .24 (benchmark) Comparison to “Threat to country” conditions Comparison to “Threat to economy” conditions t = −1.19 p = .24 (benchmark) Comparison to baseline condition Two-sample t tests 175 CEOs from many S&P 500 companies believe that climate change is one of the biggest threats confronting [target]. Many award-winning actors believe that climate change is one of the biggest threats confronting [target]. Some believe that climate change is one of the biggest threats confronting [target]. (none) 2.32 [2.28-2.36] N = 1,969 2.31 [2.28-2.35] N = 1,921 2.26 [2.21-2.32] N = 921 2.24 [2.21-2.27] N = 2,694 Mean Climate change policy support [95% confidence interval] Sample size (N) Note. [Target] refers to “our economy,” “our country,” or “the next generation.” Some Actors CEOs Unframed Framing conditions aggregated by agent Framing preceding question: “Do you think the U.S. government is doing too much, too little, or about the right amount in terms of addressing climate change? Table 6. Public Support for Climate Change Policy, by Agent. t = 1.60 p = .11 t = −0.73 p = .46 (benchmark) t = −3.06 p < .01 t = −2.90 p < .01 (benchmark) t = 0.73 p = .46 t = −1.60 p = .11 t = −1.50 p = .13 t = 0.11 p = .91 (benchmark) t = 3.06 p < .01 Comparison to “Actors” conditions Comparison to “CEOs” conditions Comparison to baseline condition Two-sample t tests 176 Organization & Environment 32(2) Average levels of climate change policy support is 2.32 for those exposed to messages referring to actors, 2.31 for the “some” group, 2.26 for the unframed group, and 2.24 for the CEOs group. t tests indicated that average support between each group that referred to an agent was statistically indistinguishable from the unframed group, and that the actors and “some” groups were also statistically indistinguishable. However, those exposed to the messages that referred to CEOs exhibited statistically significantly lower levels of support for additional climate policy intervention than those exposed to messages that referred to either actors (t = −3.06, p < .01) or “some” (t = −2.90, p < .01), suggesting a potentially important limitation to CEO activism. Table 7 shows that average levels of climate change policy support are remarkably stable across all 10 conditions, ranging from 2.20 to 2.34. Looking across all 9 framed conditions in Table 7, t tests revealed that none of these groups’ average levels of climate change policy support significantly differed from the unframed group, with one exception: The group told that “some” believed the climate change is one of the biggest threat to the economy exhibited marginally stronger support for more climate policy than those in the unframed condition (average 2.34 vs. 2.26; t = −1.76, p = .08). We then focused on the three conditions that mentioned CEOs. Average levels of climate change policy support among these three conditions was lowest when CEOs framed climate change as one of the biggest threats to the next generation (average = 2.20; 95% CI = 2.162.25), intermediate when CEOs framed it as one of the biggest threats to the economy (average = 2.25; 95% CI = 2.18-2.32), and highest when CEOs framed it as one of the biggest threats to our country (average = 2.30; 95% CI = 2.23-2.36). t tests indicated that support among these three CEO groups was statistically distinguishable only between the next generation and country groups (t = 2.38, p = .02). In other words, CEOs appear to be more influential in encouraging individuals to seek more government action on climate policy when they referred to climate change as being one of the biggest threats to our country, rather than one of the biggest threats to the next generation. We also compared the average climate change policy support level among those exposed to the condition in which CEOs referred to climate change as an economic threat (average = 2.25) to average policy support levels for each of the other conditions. The only condition that exhibited a significant difference was the group that was exposed to the statement that “some” believed that climate change is one of the biggest threats to the economy (average of 2.25 vs. 2.34; t = −1.85, p = .06). In other words, when climate is cast as one of the biggest threats to the economy, “some” saying this is apparently more convincing than CEOs saying this, revealing the potential importance of context in affecting how pursuasive CEO activism is. Moreover, we find no evidence that describing climate change as one of the biggest threats to the economy is any more convincing when CEOs make the case than when actors do (average of 2.25 vs. 2.32, t = −1.36, p = 0.17). Discussion This study presents the first analysis of the effectivenss of CEO activism, whereby corporate leaders speak out on social or environmental issues that are largely unrelated to their companies’ core businesses. Despite numerous recent examples of corporate leaders speaking out, it has been an open question as to how effective this kind of activism is. Using a framed field experiment that examines the effects of Apple CEO Tim Cook’s statements opposing Indiana’s religious freedom law, we demonstrate that Cook’s views decrease public support for the law, but no more so than identical statements that were attributed to other business and political leaders or that were unattributed. These results suggest that there is considerable power in how political or social issues are framed (Grewal et al., 1994; Lakoff, 2004; Scheufele & Tewksbury, 2007) and that corporate leaders—whose activism often attracts media attention—can use this power to their advantage when advocating in the public domain. Our second study, however, finds no evidence that a 177 Chatterji and Toffel Table 7. Public Support for Climate Change Policy Under Alternative Framings. Framing condition Framing preceding question: “Do you think the U.S. government is doing too much, too little, or about the right amount in terms of addressing climate change? Unframed (none) CEOs/economy CEOs/country CEOs/next generation Actors/ economy Actors/country Actors/next generation Some/economy Some/country Some/next generation CEOs from many S&P 500 companies believe that climate change is one of the biggest threats confronting our economy. CEOs from many S&P 500 companies believe that climate change is one of the biggest threats confronting our country. CEOs from many S&P 500 companies believe that climate change is one of the biggest threats confronting the next generation. Many award-winning actors believe that climate change is one of the biggest threats confronting our economy. Many award-winning actors believe that climate change is one of the biggest threats confronting our country. Many award-winning actors believe that climate change is one of the biggest threats confronting the next generation. Some believe that climate change is one of the biggest threats confronting our economy. Some believe that climate change is one of the biggest threats confronting our country. Some believe that climate change is one of the biggest threats confronting the next generation. Mean Climate change policy support [95% confidence interval] Sample size (N) Two-sample t tests Comparison to unframed condition Comparison to CEO/ economy condition 2.26 [2.21-2.32] N = 921 2.25 [2.18-2.32] N = 565 (benchmark) t = −0.32; p = .75 t = 0.32 p = .75 (benchmark) 2.30 [2.23-2.36] N = 761 t = −0.81 p = .42 t = −1.01 p = .31 2.20 [2.16-2.25] N = 1,368 t = 1.63 p = .10 t = 1.03 p = .30 2.32 [2.25-2.38] N = 643 t = −1.20 p = .23 t = −1.36 p = .17 2.32 [2.25-2.39] N = 597 t = −1.35 p = .18 t = −1.49 p = .14 2.31 [2.25-2.38] N = 729 t = −1.20 p = .23 t = −1.36 p = .17 2.34 [2.27-2.4] N = 669 2.29 [2.22-2.36] N = 644 2.31 [2.24-2.38] N = 608 t = −1.7 p = .08 t = −1.85 p = .06 t = −0.59 p = .56 t = −0.82 p = .41 t = −1.13 p = .26 t = −1.30 p = .19 group of (unnamed) CEOs influence public opinion on climate change policy irrespective of how the issue was framed, and revealed that CEOs can sometimes be less persuasive than unattributed statements, revealing an important limitation of CEO activism. We also find that Cook’s contention that the religious freedom law legalizes discrimination against gays positively influenced consumers’ intent to purchase Apple products, particularly among those who supported same-sex marriage. This finding implies that when CEOs take public stands on controversial issues, they can galvanize support for their company from those 178 Organization & Environment 32(2) who share their values. In this manner, CEO activism’s primary effect is through signaling which side of a public debate CEOs and, by implication, their companies are on. At the same time, CEO activism risks alienating consumers who disagree with the CEO’s public stance. While more research is needed to better understand the circumstances under which CEO activism is likely to influence support for the policies these CEOs are advocating, we suggest several factors to consider. First, our results suggest that the impact of CEO activism might differ depending on whether it is attributed to individual, well-known CEOs like Tim Cook versus groups of unnamed CEOs. For example, reports of an op-ed written by one well-known CEO might be more convincing than of an op-ed co-signed by a group of CEOs. Second, the divergent results of our two studies might be due to the different societal issues they examine. For example, special interests have converted the issue of climate change in the United States from a scientific one to a highly partisan one (Oreskes & Conway, 2010), where public perceptions now differ drastically based on political identity and deeply held values (Corner, Markowitz, & Pidgeon, 2014; Gromet, Kunreuther, & Larrick, 2013; McCright & Dunlap, 2011). This has led public opinion to be largely immune to the provision of information that contradicts their view (Kahan et al., 2012), an obstacle that CEO activism might not be able to overcome. In contrast, religious freedom laws have attracted much less media and political attention, leaving public support contested between whether such laws are appropriately viewed as consistent or undermining basic American values of religious freedom and freedom from discrimination—and thus more vulnerable to the influence of CEO activism. We encourage future research to identify the circumstances under which various individual CEOs or groups of CEOs are more influential, and how their influence varies by sustainability topic. Our focus on CEOs and their decisions to speak out contributes to the literature examining how the personal preferences of C-level executives and board members influence firm behavior. While the bulk of this literature focuses on how CEO beliefs and preferences affect firm strategy and performance (e.g., Chen, Crossland, & Luo, 2014; Finkelstein & Hambrick, 1996; Hambrick & Mason, 1984; Plambeck & Weber, 2009; Waldman & Yammarino, 1999), our study relates more closely to the few recent articles on the role of CEOs’ political attitudes on business decisions, which find associations between a CEO’s attitude and (a) the firm’s CSR practices (Chin, Hambrick, & Trevino, 2013; Di Giuli & Kostovetsky, 2014) and (b) employees’ tendency to engage in activism (Briscoe, Chin, & Hambrick, 2014). Our work supplements this literature by examining the influence of a CEO’s political and social attitudes on citizens’ attitudes and consumers’ purchasing intent. Our work also contributes to research on sustainability transitions. In particular, Delmas et al. (2019) defined sustainability transitions as “firms adopting more sustainable behaviors” in ways that “accumulat[e] to create actual sectoral sustainability” along a wide array of environmental domains such as air pollution and ecosystem preservation, spanning industries from construction to agriculture to fishing. CEO activism can foster sustainability transitions if it encourages more firms to pursue more environmentally benign behaviors if it effectively sways consumer and investor preferences toward firms exhibiting such behaviors and/or by increasing public support for more stringent environmental laws. Moreover, because sustainability often also refers to improving human conditions, we believe sustainability transitions can also refer to policies that reduce inequality and discrimination.17 As such, our results showing that CEO activism can sway public opinion against a policy viewed as discriminatory, and that such an opinion can attract brand loyalty, can be viewed as demonstrating the potential effectiveness of CEO activism fostering a sustainability transition. Our results provide some of the first insights into the phenomenon of CEO activism, but much remains unexplored. For example, our first study focused on a single famous CEO of a worldrenowned company and a single policy issue. Moreover, Cook had already announced he was gay in a Bloomberg Businessweek article in 2014, the year before he made his remarks about Chatterji and Toffel 179 RFRA, and was the first CEO of a Fortune 500 company to do so. Given that opponents of the Indiana law were already framing it as being anti-LGBTQ, Cook’s statements might have been particularly influential because of his own sexual orientation (Jenni & Loewenstein, 1997) and notoriety. Future work that spans multiple named CEOs and multiple policy issues can shed light on the generalizability of our results. The role of the media in CEO activism is also an important topic to explore in future work. Some CEOs have announced their public stands directly via Twitter, which has attracted media coverage, while others have worked with the media to write op-eds and participate in interviews. Moreover, the tone of the media coverage could impact how CEO activism is received, and tone can be influenced by the extent to which the CEO’s position is aligned with a given media outlet’s editorial position. For example, CEO activism could be cynically framed as an attempt to distract from scandals or exorbitant executive pay (Vergne, Wernicke, & Brenner, 2018), or as enlightened leadership that focuses on a wider set of stakeholders beyond just shareholders. Understanding the role of the media in CEO activism may inform the divergent results we found between climate change and LGBTQ rights and can guide future research on new topics such as why politically liberal CEOs appear more willing to speak out than their conservative peers. CEO activism could also be an important tool is driving large transformations in business and society (Delmas et al., 2019). For example, some have called for a sustainability transition to mitigate the effects of climate change. CEO activism could play a role at various stages of the policy lifecycle, which is comprised of four stages: initiation, early adoption, diffusion, and standardization. Today, CEO activism is typically occurring in the early adoption and diffusion stages. Some instances of CEO activism involve pushing for specific legislation during the early adoption stage, such as when Duke Energy’s then-CEO Jim Rogers spearheaded the U.S. Climate Action Partnership to advocate for legislation on greenhouse emissions.18 In other cases, CEO activism has taken the form of advocating against pending legislation, such as when Bill Oesterle, then CEO of Angie’s List and well-connected to Indiana’s politicians, personally lobbied against RFRA just before it became law. Similarly, Whole Foods Market CEO John Mackey wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal to support alternative health reform measures as Congress was debating whether to pass the “Affordable Care Act.”19 In other cases, CEO activism occurs after legislation has been passed, particularly to build political will to repeal or oppose specific pieces of legislation, in some instances aiming to prevent diffusion. For example, days after the Indiana law was passed, Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post that criticized the Indiana law and a similar one recently enacted in Arkansas as “dangerous” and argued that similar bills, “introduced in more than two dozen states, would allow people to discriminate against their neighbors.”20 Two days later, nine CEOs from some of Indiana’s largest employers, including Eli Lilly and Anthem Health signed an open letter urging the governor and legislative leaders to modify the law to ensure it “will not sanction or encourage discrimination against any residents or visitors to our state by anyone.”21 This example is also notable because CEOs are also able to act as a group rather than individuals, an issue that we address directly in our experiment. Interestingly, CEO activism might be directed at influencing other CEOs to advocate for the same position, as demonstrated by Sales Force CEO Marc Benioff’s efforts to influence other CEOs to support a local ordinance on homelessness in San Francisco.22 Many other examples of CEO activism occurred soon after legislation was passed. Thomas Monaghan, founder and former CEO of Domino’s Pizza, sued the federal government on behalf of his business over provisions in the Affordable Care Act (“ObamaCare”) that required companies to provide employees with contraception coverage,23 arguing that contraception was “gravely immoral” and that mandatory provision violated his religious beliefs. Although CEO activism can have costs as well as benefits, our results suggest that under some conditions the benefits can outweigh the costs for individual CEOs and their companies. In our 180 Organization & Environment 32(2) case, the increase in purchasing intent for Apple products among respondents strongly supportive of same-sex marriage occurs with no commensurate decline among those opposed to same-sex marriage. However, the benefits and costs of CEO activism will likely vary with the issue, with the nature of the corporate leader’s involvement, and with the elasticity of demand for the company’s products. Finally, purchase intent proxies for actual purchasing behavior that we cannot reliably observe. It is possible that the effects of CEO activism fade by the time the consumer is actually making a purchasing decision. These are all areas for future study. We believe that CEO activism is a fertile area of inquiry and we hope that future research will investigate when such activism is most likely to arise, whether it serves as a substitute or complement to strategic CSR and nonmarket strategies, and what influence it has on public opinion, public policy, and the company’s various stakeholders. Acknowledgments We would like to thank CivicScience, particularly Ross McGowan and John Dick, for their cooperation in pursuing this research project. Coauthor Chatterji is an equity-compensated adviser for CivicScience. We also thank Victor Bennett, Lamar Pierce, and Tage Rai for comments on earlier drafts, Kelley Greenman and Melissa Ouellet for excellent research assistance, and the Division of Research at the Harvard Business School for financial support. Declaration of Conflicting Interests The author(s) declared the following potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: Aaron Chatterji is an equity-compensated adviser for CivicScience, the survey firm used to gather data for this project. Funding The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: Division of Research at the Harvard Business School. Notes 1. Framed field experiments use experimental methods from laboratory studies with nonstandard subject pools in the field context. 2. As described below, our alternative versions of this question were randomly inserted as “Question 2” of a three-question survey deployed by CivicScience. 3. Salinas, S. (2018, September 7). Apple says Trump’s China tariffs are going to hurt the company. CNBC. Retrieved from https://www.cnbc.com/2018/09/07/proposed-tariff-list-covers-wide-range-ofapple-products-report.html 4. The survey also included a “not sure” option to avoid forcing respondents to make an arbitrary yes-orno choice when they were unsure. We excluded those responses from our primary analysis and coded RFRA policy support as a dummy variable. As a robustness test, we recoded RFRA policy support by including “not sure” responses, which we coded with the intermediate value of 0.5, and then conducted the RFRA policy support analysis using two-sample t tests. The results of this alternative approach were very similar to those of our primary analysis. 5. No deception was involved in framing the alternative scenarios, survey respondents were anonymous, and no questions were asked that risked harming respondents. Our study received a determination of exemption from the Harvard University Committee on the Use of Human Subjects under Category 2 (i.e., 45 CFR 46.101(b)(2)). 6. A 2002 law in the United States, the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, includes a provision that requires some political ads to identify their sponsor, commonly adding the phrase “I approve this message.” 7. In some instances, CivicScience deployed a four-question survey, in which our value question appeared second or third, but always after an engagement question and before a profile question. To avoid 181 Chatterji and Toffel confusion, in discussing the survey below, we use the three-question format as a point of reference. 8. Note that we posed this question before the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 2015 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, requiring states to provide marriage licenses to same-sex partners. 9. For example, once our survey respondents include a sufficient number of millennial males (i.e., once their proportion of the intended total number of respondents is commensurate with their national representation), CivicScience would only display our value question to other demographic groups until the data collection is complete. 10. Eighteen to 29 year olds constitute 25% of respondents in our Study 1 sample and 18% of our Study 2 sample, compared with 24% of the U.S. population. Thirty to 44 year olds constitute 29% of our Study 1 sample and 26% of our Study 2 sample, compared with 26% of the U.S. population. Forty-five to 64 year olds constitute 33% of our Study 1 sample and 37% of our Study 2 sample, compared to 34% of the population. Those 65 …
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