Politics and Personality: How Individual Preferences Shape Management Focus


After completing the quiz I felt that my result was pretty accurate towards my stance on politics: neutral. I hold a mix of conservative and liberal views and as a result have no true political standing yet, which I think that this does reflect with my personal values as well. As demonstrated in my quiz results I have a very moral stance when it comes to politics. I support activity that protects the environment and social equality, which are values that I actively display in my life. While this lack of political definition may seem like a weakness, as I analyzed the connection and influence of politics and management I realized that maybe it could be seen as a strength. If personal political preferences shape people’s behavior and activities, how could they shape a corporation from a management position?

I had never considered the influence of political opinion on a manager’s decision-making, but now I truly believe that it can have a huge influence. A main way that I saw political opinion shaping decision-making of managers was in the context of keeping stakeholders in mind. Although a perfect stakeholder model calls for corporation’s to keep in mind the interests of all of their stakeholders, this is not always possible in a realistic situation. As a result corporations may have to weigh the importance of each stakeholder for them. But how does manager choose which stakeholders to value over others? This is where I believe political preference can come into play. Hypothetically let’s say that there is a manager at a large company who has a political preference towards supporting poor people, but has no passion towards protecting the environment. Through his position the manager may establish company actions that keep his political preference in mind, such as donating company money to food kitchens. As a cost, the company focussing their stakeholder efforts on helping the poor may cause a lack of focus on decreasing the environmental-impact caused by the company’s manufacturing. Keeping stakeholders’ interests in mind can be a cost, and for a company they can not always afford to address every interest.

After my analysis of how political preference can influence managerial activity, I have come to the conclusion that it is crucial for corporations to establish a company stakeholder focus that they can stay true to. Similar to Freeman stating that stakeholder theory must be integrated into organizational structure, this stakeholder focus must be an integral part of the company’s beliefs. By having corporation values that can be followed and supported by all company members, I believe that the possible influence of political preference on managers can be reduced.

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9 responses to “Politics and Personality: How Individual Preferences Shape Management Focus

  1. The renowned stakeholder-oriented manager and creator of Whole Foods John Mackey would say that a company that values helping the poor should not have to make a tradeoff to achieve that end. Mackey says that he likes to look for strategies where everyone wins. As you pointed out, the way to achieve this is to have stakeholderism at the core of a company’s beliefs. Yet, I am hesitant to accept that this is a practical goal. We know that values are at the core of managerial actions and decisions, so won’t managers always have some sort of bias?

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    • I also thought about how managers would be somewhat bias in certain situations. For example if some of Whole Foods stakeholders don’t believe in helping the poor as much as the company does, I do not think Mackey should or would change his ways. I think it is important for managers to try to remain objective, but this does not mean that they have to put their values aside 100% of the time. I think that they must simply realize when to put the stakeholders values over theirs and when to not.

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      • I agree that Mackey would not put his views aside in his management actions, however we view this as a positive because his views support stakeholders and are moral. If a manager’s political views were unethical in our eyes would we accept this bias that influences managerial action?

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      • I would hope that someone who has risen to a managerial position within a company is very passionate about the company. This passion should not stem from simply a good pay check. If a manager is truly passionate about a certain political issue, they need to decide whether the company they work for’s values are also in line with theirs. If they aren’t they need figure out why they are working for the company in the first place and if they can’t justify this maybe they’re a better fit at a different company. Managers need to be able to stay objective, like you said, Brittany, and if they can’t then they need to step down.

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      • I agree with Anders: aligning organizational values with individual managerial values is the best way to achieve a common corporate goal.

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  2. I also agree with Anders that these two values should be aligned. Because Mackey’s values are considered moral and it hard to stand up against them and say they aren’t good, if people did not agree with him, I think he would continue running his business the way he does now.

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  3. The executives political orientation can affect how he sees contentious issues. A traditional conservative will see employee interests in pay fairness as a threat to capitalism; the rarer liberal executive will see it as a normal part of striving for social justice. Maybe?

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  4. After reading all of these comments, I agree with most that is said. Jordi, I am thinking that having an equal amount of opposing political views on a management team could solve some problems. As long as there are equal representation of each party and opinion, conversations will flow better.

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