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Business & Entrepreneurship

Business Experts Laud Microsoft for Its Reaction to Decision to End DACA

September 6, 2017

Microsoft sign at the entrance of their Silicon Valley campus in Mountain View, California.

A poll asked a panel of business school professors to grade Microsoft’s reaction to President Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals immigration policy. The company signed an open letter to Trump in support of DACA, urged Congress to settle DACA before moving to tax reform and vowed, " if Dreamers who are our employees are in court, we will be by their side."

The panel awarded Microsoft an “A” for its handling of the issue.

The Real Time Expert Poll© involves a panel of experts hailing from 40 world-renowned universities, including Oxford, Cornell, Columbia, INSEAD, Georgetown, Princeton and 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 University's Institute for Strategic Leadership in partnership with the American Marketing Association. A total of 21 professors participated in this edition of the poll. A majority of panelists gave Microsoft an “A,” though grades fell as low as “D.” The average grade, using the standard GPA calculation was a 3.6 or “A.” Grades varied little based on the political leaning of the panelist.

“Microsoft has been among the most vocal corporate supporters of DACA,” said Daniel Korschun, PhD, an associate professor at Drexel’s LeBow College of Business, and lead administrator of the poll. “By issuing statements from multiple executives, Microsoft is sending a message that the institution is behind this, that it’s not simply the CEO’s personal position.”

Michael Barnett, PhD, a professor of management and global business at Rutgers University, suggested that Microsoft’s stand is strategically sound because “it signals to [employees] it seeks to attract and retain that the firm stands behind them,” and anti-immigrant buyers cannot switch to Apple, which has a similar stand. An anonymous panelist praised Brad Smith, president and chief legal officer at Microsoft, for “tying the stance with Microsoft’s core interests as well as core American values.”

Other panelists were more skeptical of Microsoft’s motivations. One anonymous panelist noted that its actions represented “one more example of companies ‘posing’ to be socially responsible.” Another thought that tying its stance to its ability to hire employees seemed “selfish” and thereby yielded the moral high ground somewhat. The poll also asked panelists to rate the company across four dimensions. The panel gave the highest marks for taking leadership on the issue (4.5 on a 5-point scale), but also high marks for transparency (4.0), presenting a consistent message (3.9) and for acting on an issue that is materially relevant to its stakeholders such as investors, employees and customers (3.9).

Polls are administered periodically when a company takes a public stand on a political issue. More details about the initiative, as well as a complete list of panelists (with contact information) is available at www.lebow.drexel.edu/corporate-political-activism-panel. Questions about the panel, poll and methodology can also be directed to Korschun at dek46@drexel.edu.

Media Contact:

Niki Gianakaris

ngianakaris@drexel.edu

215.895.6741