By: Thomas J. Fewer (Georgetown University) and Murat Tarakci (Erasmus University)
Are companies led by liberals or conservatives more likely to engage in misconduct? In an article under review, Fellow in the Entrepreneurship Initiative Thomas Fewer, along with Professor Murat Tarakci, explains why prior research has remained silent about this question, and develops an identity-based theory of ideology to unearth ideology’s role in misconduct. Specifically, the authors argue that corporate misconduct is not driven by the direction of the CEOs’ political ideology, because neither liberal nor conservative values promote an engagement in misconduct. Instead, they propose CEO political partisanship—i.e., the strength of a CEO’s identification with political and ideological groups— as driving corporate misconduct. The authors find strong and robust evidence for the positive relationship between CEO political partisanship and corporate misconduct in a sample of Fortune 500 CEOs from 2010 to 2018. In doing so, they redefine political ideology’s role in business away from the values associated with liberal and conservative ideologies, toward the behavioral implications of political partisanship and polarization.