Adapting to Populism’s (Current and Future) Moment: Political Uncertainty and Business Strategy

Christopher A. Hartwell, Timothy M. Devinney

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The world faces a new political reality in the post-global financial crisis landscape, namely, the ascendance of populism and the breakdown of standard liberal democratic approaches to economic policymaking. The ability of populist leaders and parties to tap into disaffection with globalization, multinational businesses, and macroeconomic policy have manifest itself as a “populist moment” in many developed and developing countries around the world. This chapter introduces the effects of this populist moment on business in the future, with a focus on three specific areas: (1) how populism creates uncertainty on macroeconomic policies, affecting firm investment and financing decisions; (2) how the effects of populism on political institutions change the abilities which firms need to cultivate; and (3) how populist policies affect value chains, sourcing, and talent acquisition. The main conclusion of this analysis is that the political forces underpinning populism require firms to devote resources to new abilities and abilities unlike those used before, while at the same time seeing productive investments reduced in an environment of uncertainty. The watchword for business globally will be the flexibility to deal with an increasingly complex and uncertain world.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Palgrave Handbook of Corporate Sustainability in the Digital Era
EditorsSeung Ho Park, Maria Alejandra Gonzalez-Perez, Dinorá Eliete Floriani
PublisherSpringer Nature
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-42412-1
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-42411-4
Publication statusPublished - 7 Oct 2020


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