Corporate Discourse on the War in Ukraine



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What was this project?

Multinational corporations (MNCs) running businesses in Russia faced challenges rarely dealt with at business schools. They face ethical dilemmas and feel strong pressure from their shareholders and stakeholders, forcing them to make decisions that go well beyond usual business thinking and strategizing. Thousands of companies have decided to divest, withdraw, or scale down their operations in Russia. In contrast, others justify their decision to stay with their responsibility towards their employees in Russia and their unwillingness to deprive Russia’s population of essential goods such as food and medical supplies. How and why can some companies benefit from war while others suffer disruption and destruction in their production and distribution networks? How does public pressure affect corporate behavior and reputation? What does (business) history teach us about ethical behavior in times of war?

Research Question: how do the MNCs doing business in Russia communicate their position on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine?

Task Team Leader: Mykhaylo (Misha) Simanovskyy

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Volodymyr Kulikov

Goals for 2022-2023
  • Explore corporate communication about the war since February 24, 2024 and collect press releases published on corporate sites and social media and content-analyze them to identify patterns and trends. Focus will be on the top 50 MNCs by revenue in Russia (according to Forbes).
  • Methods: Split the 50 companies among the group participants, collect data, and use NVivo or MAXQDA to code and analyze them. These programs will also help us to visualize our findings.


A paper of ca. 2,500 words submitted to a specialized forum (see Publications for final deliverable).

What students learned
  • Content analysis
  • Discourse analysis
  • Data management
  • Academic writing

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