You might have heard stories of companies requiring employees to attend rallies or support specific politicians, but new research finds that corporate influence is generally subtler — though still quite real. According to surveys, about 25 percent of employees report having received some kind of political message at work, but is it enough to actually influence how people vote? Brian Richter, assistant professor in the Business, Government & Society Department at the McCombs School of Business, says workplace messages can be as simple as encouraging employees to register to vote to asking them to financially contribute to a political action committee (PAC), particularly when the beliefs of top-ranked executives begin to shape corporate culture. “Companies will always have an interest in public policy outcomes, and to the extent that they do, they’ll have an interest in rallying employees behind those,” he adds. In an interview with Knowledge@Wharton, Richter joins Columbia’s Alexander Hertel-Fernandez to discuss the realities and implications of political influence at the workplace.
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