IMO MORSe Seminar: Aharon Cohen-Mohliver (London Business School)

Istituto di management e organizzazione

Data: / -

PC04 Blue Building

The Institute of Management and Organization is glad to invite you to the next MORSe seminar given by Aharon Cohen-Mohliver from London Business School on April 10 from 12:30 to 14:00 in PC04 in the Blue Building.

He will be presenting a paper titled: In Dubious Battle: Issue Salience, Polarization, and Corporate Social Counterpositioning.



We develop a theory of how firms that compete in product markets differentiate on social positions. Stakeholder engagement theories suggest that promoting awareness of social issues increases stakeholder preferences for issue-aligned firms, incentivizing firms to support it. While this is assumed to increase socially responsible practices, we argue that the same dynamics may prompt firms to take a stand against a social issue. We conceptualize social issues as having two attributes: salience (how much do people care about the issue) and agreement (what proportion of the population supports the issue). We use mathematical modelling to explore the dynamics of social positioning under varying levels of salience, agreement, and competition. We find support for traditional wisdom on corporate responsibility (e.g. superior performance and first mover advantage for socially responsible firms). However, we also find that, given low agreement, increasing the salience of an issue can incentivize some firms to undermine it, and this incentive increases as competition intensifies. We provide illustrative evidence for this phenomenon using data on U.S. corporations’ stances on LGBTQ issues. Consistent with our theory, corporate policies and position on LGBTQ issues become, on average, more supportive but also more polarized over time.