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Business & Entrepreneurship

Trump Order Puts Lyft and Uber at Odds Professors Weigh In on What’s at Stake for Brands

January 31, 2017

A person using a ride-hailing service in New York

A poll asked a panel of business school professors to grade Lyft and Uber, app-based, ride-hailing services, on their reactions to Donald Trump’s executive order barring visitors and refugees from seven predominantly Muslim countries to the United States. Lyft was quick to oppose the ban and donated $1 million to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) while Uber was more equivocal and continued to operate despite the publicized Taxi walkout.

The professors gave Lyft a “B” and Uber a “C+” for their respective actions and statements.

A total of 21 professors participated in the poll. Grades from panelists ranged from “A” to “F.” The average grades were calculated using a standard GPA calculation. For Lyft, the grades varied by the political leaning of the panelist, with left-leaning professors more positive than right-leaning ones. Grades for Uber remained low across the board.

graph of responses

“The panelists clearly see Uber as on the losing end of this political development. Not only has it harmed the brand psychologically, but there appears to be a migration to Lyft,” said Daniel Korschun, an associate professor at Drexel’s LeBow College of Business, and lead administrator of the poll. “President Trump’s executive order has revealed a stark difference between these two companies.”

The professors on the panel found that Uber has stumbled. Their reaction was business focused, but their decision to operate during a publicized Taxi walkout “seemed out of step with the stance taken in their press statement to stand up for what is right.”

Still, not all saw Lyft’s response as appropriate. “Lyft seems gratuitous in its one-off donation,” wrote one panelist. “How much of a lasting impact can $1 million to ACLU be? They're throwing away money without creating a lasting impact.”

The Real Time Expert Poll © involves a panel of experts hailing from 39 world-renowned universities, including Oxford, Cornell, Columbia, INSEAD, Georgetown, Princeton and the University of Pennsylvania. The panel periodically grades companies that take political stands, and also rates those companies on their transparency, consistency and other dimensions. The poll is administered by Drexel’s Institute for Strategic Leadership in partnership with the American Marketing Association

Similar polls will be administered periodically when a company takes a public stand on a political issue. Panelists self-report their political leaning as liberal, middle of the road, or conservative. More details about the initiative, as well as a complete list of panelists (with contact information) is available at this link. Questions about the panel, poll and methodology can be directed to Korschun at dek46@drexel.edu.

About the Institute for Strategic Leadership at Drexel University

Drexel LeBow’s Institute for Strategic Leadership (ISL) led by Executive Director Alison Young advances an evidence-based perspective to leadership. The Institute believes that clear, verifiable support will help leaders diagnose preconceived ideas and assumptions that may not be accurate, and replace them with practices that have been proven to be effective. The Institute generates evidence –based knowledge through research grants, curriculum development and corporate outreach. 

About the American Marketing Association

The American Marketing Association (AMA) is the largest marketing association in the world, and an official content partner of the poll. Trusted by nearly 1 million marketing and sales professionals a year worldwide, the AMA has more than 70 professional chapters and over 350 collegiate chapters throughout North America and select international locations. The AMA serves organizations and individuals who practice, teach and study marketing across the globe. It serves as a forum for connecting like minded individuals to foster knowledge sharing and relationship building; to be a trusted resource for marketing information, tools, education and training; and to advance marketing practice and thought leadership.

For more information about the AMA, visit www.ama.org or follow the latest AMA news at @AMA_Marketing.

Media Contact:

Niki Gianakaris

ngianakaris@drexel.edu

215.895.6741