Firms as Political Activists: The Scope and Nature of Corporate Political Responsibility

This project explores the changing political role of corporations in the 21st century by combining political science, sociology, and business science.

Corporate political responsibility (CPR) refers to lobbying by firms on social issues, such as cultural diversity, environmentalism, lifestyle choices, nationalism, and immigration. It is a recent phenomenon that corporations try to influence the political outcomes on these types of issues. Since CPR does not offer clear and direct financial returns, it presents scholars with a puzzle. The purpose of this research project is to expose the scope of CPR and to understand why firms engage in this type of lobbying and which firms are more likely to do so.

Business is claimed to wield more political power than any other societal actor. At the same time, CPR challenges conventional knowledge regarding why firms are politically active and what they seek to achieve in the political arena. This proposed research will provide an account of the political behavior of business in the 21st century.

Throughout the project, there will be collaboration with world-leading researchers IÉSEG School of Management, Sciences Po Paris, and the Institute for Futures Studies.



Principal Investigator

Niels Selling PhD, Political Science


Swedish Research Council