Managing a Company in an Activist World

Against a backdrop of corporate scandal, business leaders can no longer rely on the old-fashioned style of one-sided community relations programs to promote a good image. Nor can they expect preferential treatment just because they meet their tax obligations. Pressure from all sides is forcing corporate leaders to increase their investments in the communities they serve and redefining their relationships with key stakeholder groups, including employees, suppliers, governing boards, shareholders, and the press. Safeguarding the environment, supporting human rights, eliminating child labor, entering into partnerships with nonprofit organizations, solving community problems, opening up financial reports to scrutiny, consulting with community residents, and contributing to local charities are now essential elements of corporate character. Managing a Company in an Activist World takes the discussion of corporate citizenship to a new practical level, offering business leaders answers to such tough questions as: What do our stakeholders value most? How can we respond to a growing number of formal compliances and informal demands? How do we most effectively communicate our role as a good corporate citizen? And, perhaps most importantly, how can we shake off inertia, public skepticism, and short-term focus to make corporate citizenship a priority without sacrificing growth and profits? Illustrating the depth and breadth of the issues through a variety of in-depth examples—from Jesse Jackson's threatened boycott of Anheuser-Busch to rural Virginians' uprising against Disney's proposed theme park to energy giant BC Hydro's successful response to environmentalists' concerns—Burke demonstrates how community involvement can influence corporate strategy to everyone's net benefit. He goes on to outline specific strategies that corporate leaders can employ to shake off inertia, public skepticism, and short-term focus to make corporate citizenship