The AMA/MSI/Root Award recognizes the 2020 Journal of Marketing article judged to make the most significant contribution to the advancement of the practice of marketing. The winners of the 2020 AMA/Marketing Science Institute/H. Paul Root Award are Yashoda Bhagwat (Texas Christian University), Nooshin L. Warren (University of Arizona), Joshua T. Beck (University of Oregon), and George F. Watson IV (Portland State University) for their article “Corporate Sociopolitical Activism and Firm Value,” published in Volume 84 of the Journal of Marketing.
In this article, the authors define a construct they call “corporate sociopolitical activism” (CSA) as “as a firm’s public demonstration (statements and/or actions) of support for or opposition to one side of a partisan sociopolitical issue” (p. 1). Unlike traditional corporate social responsibility initiatives, a firm engaging in CSA activities has the potential to alienate a significant number of their stakeholders while simultaneously strengthening relationships with others (e.g., by supporting a cause such as Black Lives Matter). What are the effects of CSA on firm value? To address this question, the authors examine the CSA actions of 149 firms across 39 industries. Overall, the paper reveals a negative reaction from investors, who view the engagement in CSA as a diversion of resources away from established for-profit activities and toward more risky activities. The team also identifies the conditions that moderate this effect, and together, the findings offer practical advice to firms grappling with the increasingly important questions of engagement with issues of social justice and other polarizing social issues such as gun control and immigration.
The selection committee, comprised of Page Moreau (JM Editor and Chair), Pradeep Chintagunta, Cait Lamberton, and JB Steenkamp noted, “We are delighted to recognize Yashoda, Nooshin, Josh, and George’s article as the winner of this prestigious award. It is deserving for the contribution it makes to marketing practice by addressing a very important but challenging issue facing many brands and firms. We also would like to note that this impressive effort was accomplished by an author team consisting solely of Assistant Professors.”
The other finalists for the award were:
- Yixing Chen, Ju-Yeon Lee, Shrihari (Hari) Sridhar, Vikas Mittal, Katharine McCallister, and Amit G. Singal (2020), “Improving Cancer Outreach Effectiveness Through Targeting and Economic Assessments: Insights from a Randomized Field Experiment”
- Abhishek Borah, Sourindra Banerjee, Yu-Ting Lin, Apurv Jain, and Andreas B. Eisingerich (2020), “Improvised Marketing Interventions in Social Media”
- Yanfen You, Xiaojing Yang, Lili Wang, and Xiaoyan Deng (2020), “When and Why Saying “Thank You” Is Better Than Saying “Sorry” in Redressing Service Failures: The Role of Self-Esteem”
- Samuel Stäbler and Marc Fischer (2020), “When Does Corporate Social Irresponsibility Become News? Evidence from More Than 1,000 Brand Transgressions Across Five Countries”