A recent Harvard Business Review (HBR) case study asked the question “Do Business and Politics Mix?” The study was based on a fictionalized company that chose to donate to a super PAC promoting political candidates with strong pro-business platforms. The contributions had a negative impact on the company when one of the candidates it supported took a controversial stance against gay marriage and news of the company’s connection to him spread. The case is based on dilemmas faced by leaders in real companies trying to determine the cost and benefits of making political campaign contributions.
John Harrington, President and CEO of Harrington Investments (HII), and Ken Cohen, Vice President of Public and Government Affairs for Exxon Mobil, were asked to provide commentary on the case and offer solutions to the problem of corporate political campaign donations. John makes the argument that corporations should stop funding political campaigns all together, consistent with two shareholder resolutions introduced at Starbucks and WellPoint by HII this year.
Photo by DonkeyHotey on Flickr. Creative Commons.