In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Political Ideology in Organizations

  • Introduction

Management Political Ideology in Organizations
M.K. Chin
  • LAST REVIEWED: 09 March 2020
  • LAST MODIFIED: 24 May 2018
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199846740-0144


Research on political ideology conducted in organizational domains has shown that the political ideology of individuals matters, not only for political domain–related outcomes, but also for a variety of organizational outcomes. Drawing upon research in political science, political psychology, and social psychology that defines political ideology as belief systems about how society should be governed, researchers in organizational domains focus mainly on the different psychological bases of individuals in organizations who hold different political ideologies. Among various dimensions suggested with regard to political ideology in the political science and psychology literature, this stream of research predominantly centers on a single dimension, liberalism-conservatism, and uses individuals’ political donation records, which are publicly provided by the US Federal Election Commission, to measure the political ideology of various organizational actors. As such, the majority of the research has been conducted in the US context. This stream of research has shown how the political ideology of organizational actors at different levels affects various organizational outcomes. That various organizational outcomes can be traced to the political ideologies of organizational actors suggests that the findings in the political science, political psychology, and social psychology literatures are also applicable to organizational domains, and that the topic of political ideology is relevant and important for organizational studies.

Political Ideology in Organizational Domains

Research on the impact of individuals’ political ideology on organizational outcomes has focused on various organizational actors, including top executives (CEOs, top management teams [TMTs], and boards of directors), middle-level managers, partners at law firms, money managers, analysts, and even the firm as a whole. This stream of research has shown that various decisions made in an organization can be explained by the political ideology of these actors. These decisions involve corporate social responsibility, employee activism, corporate tax policy, levels of corporate debt, capital and R&D expenditures, risk levels of investments, pay arrangements of TMTs and CEOs, gender inequality, accountability systems within an organization, and corporate misconduct.

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