This summary is provided by the IPR Organizational Communication Research Center

Dr. Simon Sauter and Dr. Marc Jungblut examined how public stances taken by CEOs impact perceptions of corporate reputation. 

An online survey of 330 participants was conducted in German from May 2021 to June 2021.

Key findings include:
1.) Participants who opposed the CEO’s socio-political stance had worsened views of the organization’s reputation.
2.) Negative views of the CEO’s socio-political stance impacted non-financial aspects of corporate reputation most greatly.
— e.g., Perceptions of leadership were more impacted compared to perceptions of core products and services.
3.) People who have a stake or interest in a company (investors, employees, or customers) may tend to be more critical and upset when the CEO takes a position they don’t like, compared to when the CEO takes a position they do agree with.

Implications for Practice: 
This research found there to be mostly negative outcomes associated with CEO socio-political stances. An organization should carefully consider if it has a unique type of “license” or benefit to the CEO making a socio-political stance (e.g., will the organization be penalized if leadership does not speak up) or whether it is better to forgo the risk of negative outcomes.

Read the original research here.

Heidy Modarelli handles Growth & Marketing for IPR. She has previously written for Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, The Next Web, and VentureBeat.
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