From Apple Inc. in Silicon Valley to Eli Lilly & Co. in Indianapolis, the corporate revolt crossed sectors and regions and is widely seen as crucial in forcing the hasty retreat of many conservative lawmakers both in Indiana and in Arkansas, where a similar bill passed and faces possible change.
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, and allied state lawmakers found themselves in the crosshairs of the state's largest employer, Wal-Mart Stores Inc., even before the legislation passed.
"There's now an expectation from consumers that companies are going to act as citizens of the world in a different way, that they're going to take responsibility for things that are outside the direct customer-investor model," said Adlai Wertman, professor at USC's Marshall School of Business.
"The risk-reward profile has changed," he said. "It's gone from 'I'm afraid I might offend somebody' to 'If I don't do these things, I'm letting down my customers.'"
Enjoy curated articles directly to your inbox.