Does business want to be in the middle of the political and culture wars that gain wide media attention and have passionate advocates on both sides of the issues?
The answer is generally no, although you’ll never hear that spoken by some executives who want to portray their businesses as good corporate citizens that must take a stand on moral issues.
All well and good, but as some critics point out, fairly, businesses are not always consistent on their moral stands. For example, as Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich noted when he voted no on a county resolution to boycott North Carolina over the transgender bathroom issue, “The corporations and entertainers and others are calling for the boycott of North Carolina — however, they are more than happy to entertain or conduct business in countries which support and sponsor the persecution, oppression, and violence against individuals based on gender, religion, and sexual orientation.”
Why do businesses take a split stand? Because they believe they can influence state governments but don’t feel they have the power to change attitudes of foreign governments. Businesses are also afraid of the actions foreign governments might take against them. Apple, for instance, has taken a strong position on gay rights and against discrimination, even publicly opposing California’s anti-gay marriage Proposition 8. Yet, the company has not taken such a public stand against China where the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission says discrimination against gays and lesbians is still written into many laws.