Americans are divided on the question of whether businesses should take public stances on political and social issues, new surveys conducted by Gallup and Bentley University have found.
The surveys showed that 48% of respondents say companies should take such stances, while 52% say companies should not.
Younger adults are more likely to believe businesses should take public positions on political and social issues. Among respondents ages 18-29, 59% think companies should take such stances, compared to 51 percent of those ages 30-44, 41% of those ages 45-59 and 43% of respondents 60 and older.
Meanwhile, 75% of Democrats surveyed say businesses should take public stances about topics in the news, compared with 40% of independents and 18 percent of Republicans, the research finds.
“Democrats see corporate executives as allies in recent social conflicts, but they should be careful what they wish for,” said Jeff Moriarty, a professor of philosophy at Bentley University in Waltham, Mass. “Eventually they will find themselves on opposing sides of an issue and then encouraging corporations to get more involved in politics will seem like a bad idea.”
Some employees have called for their employers to issue internal and external statements about social and political issues. But many companies worry that taking such positions could undermine their brands with customers and employees. Some companies believe such statements are inconsistent with their roles as businesses.
For further reading on PRsay:
• 14 Views on When a Company Should Speak Out About a Social Issue Today
• What CEOs Need to Consider Before Speaking Out on Social Issues
• What Corporate PR Can Learn From Political Communications
• Corporate Activism Brings Benefits and Pitfalls, Report Finds
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