Research: Speed Matters When Companies Respond to Social Issues

Companies and their leaders face new pressures to make public statements about controversial and sometimes divisive social and political issues. New research shows that timing matters: consumers perceive a relationship between speed and authenticity, and discount statements from companies that wait too long to respond. Leaders can use four questions to understand when and how they should shape their response.

In the wake of George Floyd’s killing by Minneapolis police officers in 2020, individuals began protesting racial injustice both in person and online. But it wasn’t just individuals — many well-known companies in corporate America seemed to publicly align themselves with protestors, rather than staying silent or neutral.

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