The business community is the most powerful interest group in society and, above a certain scale, business is politics. Corporate Political Action occurs whether there is a legal mechanism or not, but the political nature of business is a controversial issue.
While companies have traditionally and intentionally chosen to exercise political activity opaquely, activists and other interest groups do not recognise the legitimacy of business as a political constituent. While competing for technological disruption and efficiency in its business models, the corporate community has traditionally refused the task of cultural and political criticism, relegating it to the other actors. On the other hand, the weight of Marxist tradition and Critical Theory in the world of activism has helped to draw a monochromatic neoliberal representation of business organisations (Rushkoff, 2005). As a consequence, while there are strong links and fluid collaboration among activism, academia, and arts, the corporate world is commonly perceived as the enemy. This monolithic conception of business is the already existing ideology that serves as a foundational myth for most contemporary populist narratives and the global anxiety the critical should address. On the other hand, the factual existence of “business unity,” understood as an impediment to the effective democratic functioning of society, is a long-time discussed academic topic with both supporters and detractors. In The Structure of Corporate Political Action (1992), Mark Mizruchi brought an interesting perspective by pointing out that firms do not always act according to their belief or direct interest but as a result of structural conditions such as “market constraints,” “common stakeholders,” and particularly “direct and indirect interlocks” with bigger corporate or financial institutions. In this conceptual framework, the question is not whether the world of business is united, but under which conditions it happens to act unitarily. The results of his research conclude that firms that are interdependent through “market constraints,” “common stakeholders,” or “direct or indirect interlocks” tend to develop similar corporate political behaviours. However, the influence of “indirect interlocks” in companies’ direction boards is by far the most important structural factor. This reveals that the network of corporate interlocks is centralised and hierarchical in a way that a central firm interlocked with a number of peripheral firms influences the behaviours of these in its favor. The higher in the hierarchy, the more central the firm, and the more similar the behaviour of firms in the same structural position. Financial institutions occupy the top of the network. Firms indirectly interlocked through a financial institution tend to have a higher ratio of similar CPA (Mizruchi,1993: 235-255).