Despite a recent surge in corporate activism, with firm leaders communicating about social-political issues unrelated to their core businesses, we know little about its strategic implications. This paper examines the effect of an employer communicating a stance about a prevalent social-political issue — climate change — on employee motivation, using three field experiments in two online labor market platforms. Results demonstrate that the treatment effects of taking a stance vary depending on whether the employee agrees or disagrees with the stance, showing a demotivating effect of taking a stance that employees disagree with, and no (statistically significant) motivating effect of taking a stance that employees agree with. The mechanism behind the demotivating effect is that employees who disagree with the stance feel that their employer does not share their values and beliefs, and do not identify with their employer. This study has important implications for the nascent scholarship on corporate activism, as well as the scholarship on strategic human capital management.
Burbano, Vanessa. "The Effect of Communicating a Social-Political Stance on Employee Motivation: Field Experimental Evidence from Online Labor Market Platforms." Columbia Business School, 2018.
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