Publication Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

8-2017

Abstract

What motivates corporate political action? Are corporations motivated by their own narrow economic self-interest; are they committed to pursuing larger class interests; or are corporations instruments for status groups to pursue their own agendas? Sociologists have been divided over this question for much of the last century. This paper introduces a novel case - that of Australia - and an extensive dataset of over 1,500 corporations and 7,500 directors. The paper attempts to understand the motives of corporate political action by examining patterns of corporate political donations. Using statistical modelling, supported by qualitative evidence, the paper argues that, in the Australian case, corporate political action is largely motivated by the narrow economic self-interest of individual corporations. Firms’ interests are, consistent with regulatory environment theory, defined by the nature of government regulation in their industry: those in highly conservative partisanship or hedging is not just a product of the objective regulation they face, but also whether corporate leaders judge such regulation as politically inevitable or something that can be resisted. Such a judgement is highly subjective, introducing a dynamic and unpredictable dimension to corporate political action.

Discipline

Business Law, Public Responsibility, and Ethics | Sociology | Work, Economy and Organizations

Research Areas

Sociology

Publication

British Journal of Sociology

ISSN

0007-1315

Identifier

10.1111/1468-4446.12270

Publisher

Wiley: No OnlineOpen

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Additional URL

http://doi.org/10.1111/1468-4446.12270

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