What the White House Means for Social Responsibility

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In a world where we're always on the lookout for businesses that walk the walk on our own values, corporate social responsibility can say a lot about who to support. Whether it's a local ice cream store that sponsors a Little League team or a multinational corporation that commits to ethical environmental practices, we like to hear about the private sector giving back. You'd think these values are pretty consistent, no matter what political party is in power, but a new study turns that notion on its head.

Researchers at San Francisco State University have just published a paper looking at how CEOs relate to who's in the White House, and whether that changes how they run their companies. Weirdly, the more a business owner agrees with the majority party, the less they support the causes they care about. "Business leaders with the same political orientation as the president may have an expectation that the government 'will deliver on the social values they hold dear,'" according to a press release; in those circumstances, the business tends to focus more on delivering profits.

The research team defines social responsibility in a business sense as "further[ing] some social good, beyond the interests of the firm and that which is required by law." This sort of thing doesn't just matter to customers; employees care about it too — and are more likely to work hard for companies that bolster their values. It's a good reminder to push for positive change no matter what the political climate. There's always an opportunity to be conscientious and improve.