Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company: Corporate Policies on Politics and Free Speech
Gulati, N.; Meruelo, A.; O’Rourke, J. S. (editor)
March 17, 2021
Ethics & Social Justice, Human Resources & Organizational Behavior, Marketing & Sales
Brand Management, Corporate Culture, Crisis Management, Customer Relations, Investor Relations, Reputation Management, Workplace Culture
In August 2020 – in the midst of a hotly contested U.S. presidential election – Donald J. Trump used the online Twitter platform to criticize Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company’s policy banning “Make America Great Again” apparel, creating a firestorm of politicized press and public outrage that lowered Goodyear’s share price. This case examines the company’s political expression policy, the fractious nature of American politics, and limits of political expression in the workplace.
- To highlight the difficulties that companies face in navigating today’s extremely politicized environment.
- To provide an opportunity for discussion about how a company could mishandle corporate policies dealing with political expression in the workplace.
- To examine how to formulate a corporate response to direct government criticism of legal company policies that affect employees, shareholders, consumers, and reputation.
- To call attention to the entangled challenges encompassing workplace political expression and social issues – related to diversity and discrimination – which are now at the forefront of public discussion.
- To assist students in exploring how companies can protect their brand reputation from external, political threats.