Blowing Smoke: The Management of Moral Illegitimacy by the U.S. Tobacco Industry
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U.S. corporations have had a remarkable history of overcoming challenges to their moral legitimacy. While a number of established theoretical positions have argued that organizational wrongdoing is likely to be a tremendous social liability, the last few decades have seen corporation after corporation (from BP to Goldman Sachs) tarnished by various public allegations, only to emerge relatively unscathed. Few industries have been quite as stigmatized as Big Tobacco – for producing a dangerous product and further, going to extreme lengths in defending and marketing it to unsuspecting customers. Using Critical Institutional theory, this presentation will explain how the American Tobacco Industry survived charges of illegitimacy for so many decades, and became a “model” for other companies facing problems of stigmatization.
- R & P Seminar