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Influencing the Political Environment

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1 Influencing the Political Environment
chapter 9 Influencing the Political Environment

2 Ch. 9: Key Learning Objectives
Understanding the arguments for and against business participation in the political process Knowing the types of corporate political strategies and the influences on an organization’s development of a particular strategy Assessing the tactics businesses can use to be involved in the political process Examining the role of the public affairs department and its staff Analyzing how the problem of money and campaign financing in the American political system affects business Recognizing the challenges business faces in managing business–government relations in different countries

3 The Arguments for and against Political Involvement by Business
Figure 9.1

4 Business as a Political Participant
Many business executives and managers see their role in the political process as vital to the progress (and possibly survival) of their company 2009 Harris poll showed concern about business influence: 85% of public polled felt business had too much political power 85% felt political action committees (a favorite business political tactic) were too powerful At the same time only 5% of respondents felt small business had too power in the political environment

5 Role of Interest Groups and Coalitions
Interest groups, representing varying concerns and populations, have a voice in the political process Labor unions have a longstanding role in U.S. politics AFL-CIO launched a heavily funded attack on 2008 Republican Presidential candidate John McCain’s economic platform, called “McCain Revealed” Ad hoc coalitions Diverse business organizations and interest groups band together in support or opposition to a specific legislative or regulatory initiative

6 Influencing the Business-Government Relationship
Business leaders and scholars agree that firms must participate in the political process Stakes are too high for business not to be involved Government acts on issues that affect basic operations of companies Companies therefore must formulate a Corporate Political Strategy Involves the activities taken by organizations to acquire, develop, and use power to obtain an advantage

7 Types of Corporate Political Strategy
Three strategic types Information strategy Businesses seek to provide government policymakers with information to influence their actions Financial-incentives strategy Businesses provide incentives to influence government policymakers to act in a certain way Constituency-building strategy Businesses seek to gain from other affected organizations to better influence government policymakers to act in a way that helps them

8 Business Strategies for Influencing Government
Figure 9.2

9 Promoting an Information Strategy
Lobbying Lobbyists communicate with and try to persuade others to support an organization’s interest or stake as they consider a particular law, policy, or regulation Direct communications Businesses invite officials to participate in activities that will improve government officials’ understanding of management and employee concerns Expert witness testimony Businesses provide facts, anecdotes, or data to educate or influence government leaders at public forums like congressional hearings

10 Total Federal Lobbying Spending and Number of Lobbyists (1998 – 2008)
Figure 9.3

11 The Business Roundtable
One of the most effective organizations for promoting direct communication between business and policymakers Organization of CEOs of leading corporations Studies various public policy issues and advocates for laws it believes foster vigorous economic growth and a dynamic global economy Considers issues like corporate governance, education, health care, and civil justice reform

12 Promoting a Financial Incentive Strategy
Political action committees Independently incorporated organizations that can solicit contributions and then channel those funds to candidates seeking political office Economic leverage Occurs when a business uses its economic power to threaten to leave a city, state, or country unless a desired political action is taken

13 Political Action Committee Activity
Figure 9.4

14 Promoting a Constituency Building Strategy
Stakeholder coalitions Businesses try to influence politics by mobilizing various organizational stakeholders to support its political agenda Advocacy advertising Advertisements that focus on a company’s views on controversial political issues Trade associations Coalitions of companies in the same or related industries used to coordinate businesses’ grassroots mobilization campaigns Legal challenges Business seeks to overturn a law after it has been passed

15 Levels of Business Political Involvement
Figure 9.5

16 Managing the Political Environment
The role of the public affairs department is to manage the firm’s interactions with governments at all levels and to promote the firm’s interests in the political process Eight of the 10 most frequently performed activities by public affairs officers and departments involve a political action tactic and attention has increased for most of these political activities during the past few years. More than half of the senior public affairs executives, 55 percent, sit on the corporation’s strategic planning committee

17 Campaign Finance Reform: A Special Issue
During the 1990s critics feared the growing amount of money pouring into elections would become a corrupting influence Public outcry resulted in calls for campaign finance reform legislation (Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002) Largest provision was ban on soft money Unlimited contributions to the national political parties by individuals or organizations for party-building activities $470 million in election The immediate reactions to the new campaign reforms were mixed

18 Business Political Action: A Global Challenge
Critical that managers be aware of the opportunities for and restrictions on business involvement in the political processes in other countries Other governments struggle with same issues as U.S. - participation in the political environment, campaign financing, and maintaining a fair ethical climate throughout the public policy process Has resulted in campaign finance reform in many other countries

19 Campaign Financing Reform Abroad
Limits on expenditures Contribution limits Disclosure regulations Bans against certain types of contribution Bans against certain types of expenditures Measures designed to encourage donations Subsidies in kind Public subsidies

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