The Unexpected Political Influence Your Boss Has On Your Vote

Fast Company
Laura Vanderkam

People's "work selves" and "personal selves" are different, but on the whole, people do pay attention to what their leaders do.

Politics is contentious, especially in this presidential race. This is why most people prefer to keep mum about elections at the office. A recent Beyond.com survey of 5,000 job seekers found that 72% thought it was inappropriate to talk about politics at work, and 46% had been made to feel uncomfortable by colleagues' political chats.

"The reality is that most people prefer to avoid conflict, and this is especially true in the workplace where your career success can depend upon your relationship with others," says Joe Weinlick, senior vice president of marketing at Beyond.com

Yet despite the taboo, the office can still exert a huge sway over one aspect of electoral participation. A study released earlier this year found that employees were three times more likely to donate to candidates supported by the CEO than those who weren't. The correlation held when a new CEO with different politics took over, suggesting that it was not just a matter of everyone supporting candidates who were beneficial to the firm; e.g. people at a solar panel company donating to legislators who backed solar panel subsidies.

For all the talk of "authenticity" lately, people tend to separate their work selves from their personal selves. That said, they really do pay attention to what their leaders do—an insight that matters for fields far beyond politics.
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