Corporate Political Strategies in Weak Institutional Environments: A Break from Conventions

Journal of Business Ethics 161 (4):855-876 (2020)
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Abstract

There is a lack of research about the political strategies used by firms in emerging countries, mainly because the literature often assumes that Western-oriented corporate political activity has universal application. Drawing on resource-dependency logics, we explore why and how firms orchestrate CPA in the institutionally challenging context of Nigeria. Our findings show that firms deploy four context-fitting but ethically suspect political strategies: affective, financial, pseudo-attribution and kinship strategies. We leverage this understanding to contribute to CPA in emerging countries by arguing that corporate political strategies are shaped by the reciprocity and duality of dependency relationships between firms and politicians, and also by advancing that these strategies reflect institutional weaknesses and unique industry-level opportunities. Importantly, we shed light on the muttered dark side of CPA. We develop a CPA framework and discuss the research, practical and policy implications of our findings.

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