21st Century Business Leadership and the Rise of Corporate Activism

Published on Nov 1, 2021

In recent years, we have seen CEOs, both individually and collaboratively, speaking out on contentious social and political issues, from gun violence to voting and transgender rights, that are potentially consequential to shareholders, and backing their statement with actions. While corporations have always engaged politically with governments through lobbying and other more traditional activities behind the scenes, it is only recently that the type of public corporate activism we are now witnessing has come to the forefront.

This report, published by KKS Advisors (now part of dss+) in collaboration with the High Meadows Institute explores the motivations behind this expanded form of corporate political engagement and the risks and opportunities it presents for both business and society. We also summarize in the appendix some of the key findings on strategies firms are using to manage corporate activism successfully.