Multinationals and global warming; How institutional setting influences political strategies

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This research aimed to explain how and why political strategies chosen by multinationals vary between pluralist versus corporatist institutional settings. In a pluralist country, various perspectives on political issues are represented by individuals, political parties and interest groups who compete for influence over policy domains. This contrasts with the corporatist countries in which interest group activity is mainly focused on one dominant interest group, mostly being the business interest. The institutional setting was expected to have an influence on the political strategy chosen by multinationals. The expected chosen political strategies by multinationals were those of Hillman and Hitt’s (1999): the information strategy, the financial incentive strategy and the constituency building strategy. When firms choose to pursue an information strategy as their main political strategy, they provide policy makers with specific information about their view on public policy by using lobbying and think tanks to supply policy makers with research reports and statements. The financial incentive strategy is used when firms apply financial stimulation to persuade public policy makers of their corporate views and interests. The constituency building strategy is used when firms aim at influencing the public policy arena indirectly by targeting individual voters. Comparing a sample of five Dutch (pluralist) and five American (corporatist) companies was used to see whether the institutional setting made a difference on the political strategy chosen by multinationals. The context chosen for this was their corporate climate strategy. The results showed that institutional setting did not have an influence on the political strategy chosen. All multinationals examined in this research used the information strategy and the constituency building strategy. None of them used the financial incentive strategy. The alternative explanation given for the lack of difference between political strategies used by multinationals in corporatist versus pluralist countries, is that most multinationals applied one global strategy: the self-regulation strategy. However, the underlying motivations of the multinationals to engage in climate action did vary. The Dutch multinationals have been mainly motivated by intrinsic motivations when engaging in climate action. The American multinationals however have been more driven by extrinsic motivations when deciding on climate action.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen