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The Lines Continue to Blur Between Personal and Corporate Speech

Wednesday, January 11, 2017 9:24
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The latest example: L.L. Bean.  It may indeed seem “illogical and unfair,” as the L.L. Bean spokesperson said, to “attribute the personal political activities of one member of a five-generation ownership family to our entire company.”  But this is where we are — as a result of Citizens UnitedHobby Lobby, and the expanding presence of politics, religion, and culture in the corporate sphere.  It has happened before — with Mozilla and Chick-fil-A, among many others — and the instances will likely keep growing.  

Grant Hayden and I have argued that employees need to play a greater role in the corporation’s culture, especially when the corporation takes a stance on religious or political issues.  If workers and customers know that a corporation’s culture is more than just the political and religious views of its owners and executives, the personal activities of those owners and executives will recede back into the background — as they should.


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