1st Edition

Corporate Political Behavior Why Corporations Do What They Do in Politics

By Robert Healy Copyright 2014
    384 Pages
    by Routledge

    384 Pages
    by Routledge

    Corporate Political Behavior centers on why corporations do what they do in politics. The text draws upon insights from the author’s forty years of government and political experience—insights placed within an operating framework grounded in the political science and strategic issue management disciplines.

    Robert Healy argues that corporate political behavior results from the interplay of behavioral drivers—commercial objectives, competitive political advantage, corporate political culture and leadership—and behavioral enablers—political capital, corporate political reputation, corporate campaign financing, and corporate political clout. This interplay all functions within a three-world environment: market, non-market, and internal corporate. The book examines how these factors structure a firm’s political positioning, its business-political strategies, and its political behavior as it seeks to attain its marketplace goals. The text features in-chapter side bars— events, or circumstances or political happenings of which the author either knew or participated—along with longer mini-cases in which the author also participated or was consulted. Each chapter concludes with a summary and takeaway points.

    Corporate Political Behavior will be applicable to courses in political science and in business school courses on strategic issue management, policy construction, corporate agency and corporate strategy, as well as of interest to corporations and practitioners.

    Introduction: Explaining Corporate Political Behavior—three platforms. 1. Conditioner: The Governed Market System and its Boundaries. 2. Conditioner: Managers, Shareholders, and the Implicit Bargain. 3. Conditioner: Three Worlds and Three Firms. 4. Driver: Commercial Objectives—goals and politics. 5. Driver: Competitive Political Advantage—getting the corporate edge. 6. Driver: Corporate Political Culture—the way we practice politics (or don’t). 7. Driver: Corporate Political Leadership—get ‘er’done. 8. Enabler: Political Capital—corporate accounting of a different kind. 9. Enabler: Political Reputation of a Firm—the right "buzz". 10. Enabler: Political Money—it’s about the cash.11. Enabler: Corporate Political Clout—illusive but real. 12. Political Positioning (1)—the first four keys: policy, elections, aspirations, globalism. 13. Political Positioning (2)—the fifth key: Mobilization—political, issue, and advocacy management. 14. Political Positioning (3)—strategies, objectives, and tactics. 15. Conclusion—the enigma of corporate political behavior.


    Robert Healy is a full-time professional lobbyist and part-time academic. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Pittsburgh. Healy is an Adjunct Professor of Political Science at American University where for the last 9 years he has taught a scheduled class on Corporations and Political Behavior—an upper-level undergraduate and graduate course. Healy also taught a Strategic Issue Management/Government Relations course in the MBA program at George Washington University’s School of Business.

    "Bob Healy’s, Corporate Political Behavior is a unique combination of knowledge from rigorous research grounded in political science and business management and wisdom from forty years of participation in and close observation of American politics through his experience as a lobbyist. Healy knows how Washington works and puts that knowledge in a new and important theoretical framework. No one writes about political capital better than Dr. Healy. He is a rarity—he knows lobbying, business, and government from the inside and he is a well-trained political scientist who knows how to write clearly. His insights and analysis on lobbying, business-government relations, and corporate political strategy and tactics cannot be surpassed. It should be a required book for business schools, public policy schools, programs in public administration and, of course, political science. I will certainly use it for my lobbying classes."
    —James A. Thurber, Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies, American University

    "As academic political science accelerates its understanding of lobbying’s impacts and limitations, Bob Healy, both scholar and practitioner, has produced a most valuable book. Corporate Political Behavior combines first-rate scholarship with the insights of veteran, and wily, corporate lobbyist. Healy is no apologist for corporate lobbying, but his background allows him to place academic studies in real-life contexts. We don’t have to assume motivations for lobbying, because Healy lays them out, often illustrated by well-chosen examples. Corporate Political Behavior does not represent the last word on the political actions of corporations, but it is a great place to start in coming to terms with an ill-understood, yet integral, part of the American political process."
    Burdett Loomis, Professor Political Science, University of Kansas

    "If you want to know how corporations ‘do’ politics, Robert Healy’s Corporate Political Behavior is more than just a starting point—it is an experience tested roadmap through all that goes into corporate political activity. From my vantage point as a corporate government relations professional, Healy has captured in sensitive tones that broad swath of what we do and how we do it. He has done so with all the authority of one who has ‘been there-done that’. For all who want to really understand corporations and politics, this book is a treasure, a don’t-miss read not just for political scientists and business students but for all of us who, like him, make our careers as part of the corporate political world. Healy has done both corporations and politics a mighty service."
    —Greg Pensabene, Vice President of Government Relations, Anadarko Petroleum Corporation

    "Robert Healy has written a long overdue book detailing how, and why, businesses are increasingly active and more effective than ever in setting the agenda for public discussion of the key issues of our times. In a clear and concise narrative Healy captures the nuances that matter for managers as they navigate the interplay between businesses and public policy in an increasingly crowded field with a cacophony of voices."
    —Jennifer J. Griffin, Professor, Strategic Management & Public Policy, George Washington University School of Business