O.S.A.N. (Omar) El Nayal

RSM - Rotterdam School of Management
Erasmus University Rotterdam
ERIM Doctoral Student
Field: Strategy & Entrepreneurship
Affiliated since 2012

PhD Project

On the Political Activities of Firms: Strategies and Implications

It is an axiom of nonmarket strategy research that firms will seek to influence their political
and regulatory landscape in order to advance beneficial public policy and/or hinder legislation
deemed unfavorable to their interests. Prior research has revealed the ubiquity of politically
active firms, which not only thrive under the crony capitalist regimes of Russia and Thailand,
but also in Belgium, the United Kingdom and Ireland. Although the motivations for corporate
political activity (CPA) have been widely discussed in literature, there is less agreement on
how firms organize to attain political advantage; how the nonmarket political activities of
firms influence their market strategies; and ultimately, whether establishing ties with the
political apparatus translates to tangible firm benefits.
This dissertation sets out to address these three research gaps. The first study herein develops
a comprehensive theory of political cooptation by investigating director-, firm-, industry- and
country-level contingencies that influence the extent to which the appointment of politicians
on corporate boards brings value to firms. We rely primarily on resource dependence theory
to advance a more comprehensive approach to political cooptation while using an
international event study research design to account for the country level institutional factors
that may condition the performance consequences of political cooptation. Our second study
similarly addresses the performance implications of political connectedness, but uses a
longitudinal panel dataset to examine whether different firm strategic choices mediate the
relationship between political connectedness and long-term firm performance. Finally, we
aim to shed light on another widely used corporate political tactic, lobbying, in order to
answer a question that has been insufficiently addressed by existing research: which factors
condition the firm to either undertake lobbying activities directly, or outsource lobbying to
external professional parties.

Corporate political activity; political connectedness; strategic management; corporate governance; resource dependence theory; institutional theory; transaction cost economics; managerial risk; stakeholder orientation; lobbying; cross-country; event study; HLM; panel data.
Time frame
2014 -


Visiting address

Office: Mandeville Building T07-46
Burgemeester Oudlaan 50
3062 PA Rotterdam

Postal address

Postbus 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam

Supervisory team

Omar El Nayal
Professor of Corporate Governance and Responsibility
Omar El Nayal
Marc van Essen
Daily supervisor