The Handbook of Public Affairs

Handbooks

Edited by: Phil Harris & Craig S. Fleisher

  • Citations
  • Add to My List
  • Text Size

  • Chapters
  • Front Matter
  • Back Matter
  • Subject Index
  • Part I: The Environments of Public Affairs

    Part II: Tools, Techniques, and Organizing for Public Affairs

    Part III: Case Studies in Public Affairs

    Part IV: Scholarship and Theory Building in Public Affairs

  • Copyright Page

    View Copyright Page

    Advisory Board

    Geoffrey Allen, The Australian Centre for Corporate Public Affairs

    Tim Clement-Jones, DLA Upstream

    Mark Hatcher, Cubitt Consulting

    Raymond Hoewing, George Washington University

    Andrew Lock, Leeds University Business School

    John Mahon, University of Maine

    Tom McNally, Shandwick International Consultants Ltd

    Danny Moss, Manchester Metropolitan University

    Bruce Newman, DePaul University

    James Post, Boston University

    Tom Spencer, European Centre for Public Affairs

    Teresa Yancey Crane, Issue Management Council

    Dedication

    To Irene, Angela, Zachary, Austin, and Kieren Thanks for making it possible

    List of Illustrations

    Figures

    6.1 Total federal political action committee contributions, 1990–2002 79

    6.2 Types of coalition partners 82

    6.3 Political influence pyramid 83

    7.1 The principal stages in the legislative process for UK government bills 92

    9.1 The hidden job market 133

    12.1 Determinants of public affairs structure 188

    12.2 Environment characteristics and public affairs structure 189

    12.3 Public affairs strategy classification 190

    12.4 Environment characteristics and public affairs strategies 191

    15.1 Not-for-profit advertisements in official party conference publications, 1994–1997 235

    15.2 Advertisements at party conferences, by sector, 1994–2003 236

    15.3 Exhibitors at party conferences, by sector, 1994–2003 239

    15.4 Fringe events at party conferences, by sector, 1994–2003 241

    15.5 Relationship marketing at party conferences: the new policy network 242

    20.1 Nexen's safety, environment, and social responsibility system 322

    20.2 The various communities represented at the first public consultation meeting 325

    21.1 Names for the public affairs function 343

    21.2 Activities conducted in the public affairs function 344

    21.3 Proportion of full-time professional staff working in key functional areas 345

    21.4 Influence of public affairs on the strategic business planning process 346

    21.5 The section of the organization that has primary responsibility for managing the corporate brand 349

    21.6 Alignment of brand (the marketing concept of the brand) equals reputation 349

    21.7 Millennium Poll on Corporate Social Responsibility: the role of large companies in society 352

    21.8 Stated goals of corporate social responsibility 353

    21.9 Investor relations tasks undertaken by the public affairs department in the past twelve months 355

    22.1 “On what level do you lobby?” 363

    22.2 “Who are your clients?” 364

    22.3 Recognition of selected public relations terms in Germany 365

    22.4 Development of public affairs activity in German corporations in recent years 366

    22.5 “Where do you find the general guidelines for your actions?” 367

    22.6 “Which competencies qualify a lobbyist?” 369

    23.1 Strategic framework for lobbyists 389

    25.1 Life cycle of an issue 421

    25.2 Impact on company versus probability of outcome 429

    26.1 Upsurge in shareholder opposition to directors and CEOs, 2004 443

    28.1 Generic issue management system 490

    List of Tables

    1.1 Key contributions to the scholarly literature specifically focused on international or multinational PA/GR subject matter 11

    1.2 Literature citing empirical studies of PA/GR practice in specific nation-states 12

    1.3 Associations or foundations of corporate affairs practitioners 25

    1.4 Prominent public affairs-focused periodicals 26

    6.1 Political involvement activities of US companies 77

    6.2 The cost of US elections, 2000 78

    6.3 Top ten business, trade association, and pro-business group political action committees during the 2001–2002 federal election cycle 80

    6.4 Top ten labor, trial lawyer, and liberal interest-group political action committees during the 2001–2002 federal election cycle 80

    6.5 Political action committee contribution criteria 80

    6.6 Frequency of use of coalitions by US corporations 81

    6.7 Politically engaged CEOs 82

    6.8 Grassroots constituents 84

    6.9 Top five grassroots activities 84

    9.1 Personality trait checklist 126

    9.2 Personal values in your work 127

    9.3 Core functional public affairs/public relations competencies 130

    9.4 Core organizational competencies 131

    9.5 Interests and skills relevant to public affairs/public relations 135

    15.1 Attendance of representatives at Liberal Democrat conferences, 1992–1997 232

    15.2 Advertisements placed in official party publications, 1994–1997 234

    15.3 Exhibitors at party conferences, 1994–1997 238

    15.4 Fringe events at party conferences, 1994–1997 240

    17.1 Top five NBWA activities identified by member companies as “very important” or “important” 270

    17.2 Total funds raised by NBWA's political action committee, donated to candidates for election to Congress 273

    20.1 Stakeholder involvement mechanisms 326

    20.2 Common characteristics of stakeholder populations 327

    22.1 Ranking of agencies with public affairs services, by turnover, 2003 364

    22.2 Mentions of “lobbying” in three Austrian papers and one online news agency of the communications branch 373

    22.3 Rates of Austrian public affairs consultants 375

    23.1 Contributions for House candidates 381

    23.2 Top spending on the top ten issues 382

    27.1 Empirical studies of public affairs: selective sample 460

    27.2 Three waves of empirical research studies 468

    List of Exhibits

    1.1 Selected international public policy issues affecting business interests and organizations 5

    1.2 Major factors businesses need to understand about a nation-state's public policy environment 23

    7.1 Checklist for effective strategic public affairs management 99

    9.1 Characteristics of career stages 128

    9.2 Ten rules for building and nurturing an effective network 133

    9.3 The STAR interview method 136

    11.1 A common ad hoc campaign with integrated information and communications systems 171

    15.1 Relevant statistics on the 1995 Conservative Party Conference 231

    15.2 North East of England supermarket case 232

    15.3 Policy sessions and interests in attendance at the Labour Party Conference, Blackpool, September 30 to October 3, 1996 242

    16.1 Chronology of charter renewal 249

    18.1 The use of some major terms in US lobbying 282

    18.2 The overall most effective interests in the fifty states since the early 1980s 292

    18.3 Twelve factors determining the influence of individual interest groups and interests 294

    20.1 Steps for implementing a public involvement program 329

    21.1 Sponsorship and community involvement: from commercial to philanthropic 349

    26.1 Key actors in the US corporate reform agenda, 2001–2004 435

    29.1 Principles of stakeholder management, the “Clarkson principles” 512

    30.1 Knowledge and skill for corporate public affairs graduates 520

    30.2 Component courses in a model curriculum for Master's programs in BCPA 527

    30.3 PhD-qualified instructors in North America with recognized post-secondary BCPA expertise 530

    31.1 Key actors in the US corporate reform agenda, 2001–2004 538

    Contributors

    Geoff Allen pioneered research and teaching in business-government relations and the political environment of business in Australia. He has taught MBA and executive programs as a full-time or part-time academic for thirty years, and is an adjunct professor at the Melbourne Business School. He has also been at the center of the business-politics relationship over a long career as a civil servant, senior political advisor, co-founder and foundation CEO of Australia's large-company business organization (Business Council of Australia), and as management consultant for business and government. He has chaired a number of major state and federal government advisory bodies and is currently chair of the Australian government's Trade Policy Advisory Council. He is director of a number of companies and is deputy chairman of the board of the Melbourne Business School. In 1988 he founded the economics and public policy consultancy the Allen Consulting Group, and in 1990 founded the Centre for Corporate Public Affairs, of which he is chairman. He is Asia-Pacific regional editor of the Journal of Public Affairs.

    Leighton Andrews is a former head of Public Affairs at the BBC. He has been a consultant to many major media companies. Immediately before his election, he lectured at the School of Journalism at Cardiff University, where he is now Honorary Professor. He is also a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Public Affairs. He was elected to the National Assembly for Wales as Assembly Member for the Rhondda in 2003 and now sits on the National Assembly's Economic Development, Culture and Audit committees. He is married with two children.

    Archie B. Carroll is Professor of Management and holder of the Robert W. Scherer Chair of Management and Corporate Public Affairs in the Terry College of Business, University of Georgia, Athens, GA. He is the senior co-author of Business and Society: Ethics and Stakeholder Management sixth edition (2006), as well as ten other books and dozens of scholarly journal articles. Dr Carroll has served in many professional capacities. He has been President of the Society for Business Ethics (1998–1999), Chairman of the Social Issues in Management (SIM) division of the Academy of Management (1976–1977) and has served on the editorial review boards of the Academy of Management Review and the Journal of Management. He is on the editorial review boards of Business Ethics Quarterly, Business and Society, Journal of Management, and the Journal of Public Affairs. A multiple award-winning scholar, his research and teaching interests embrace business ethics, moral leadership, corporate social performance, corporate citizenship, non-profit management, and stakeholder theory.

    Scott A. Castleman is General Manager of Legislative Demographic Services (LDS) based in Fairfax, VA, a position he assumed after having served as the firm's Director of Operations. LDS was the first company to match zip codes to political jurisdictions and has, since 1982, been on the cutting edge of providing technology for tracking issues and mobilizing constituents. As Director of Operations, Scott developed much of the cutting edge web-based products LDS offers.

    Craig S. Fleisher holds the Odette Research Chair in Business and is Professor of Management (Strategy & Entrepreneurship) at the Odette School of Business, University of Windsor, Ontario, Canada. He was previously President of the Canadian Council for Public Affairs Advancement and a board member of the Center for Public Affairs Management (Washington, DC), Public Affairs Association of Canada, and George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management. He is currently the Regional Editor for the Americas of the Journal of Public Affairs, Editor of the Journal of Competitive Intelligence and Management, a member of the Institute for Public Relations Commission on Public Relations Measurement and Evaluation, and an editorial board member of the Asia Pacific Public Relations Journal and International Journal of Technology Intelligence and Planning.

    An award-winning instructor in strategy, competitive analysis, and social issues in management, he is an active speaker and advisor to senior executives in organizations around the globe. He has written several acclaimed books, including Assessing, Managing and Maximizing Public Affairs Performance (1997), Public Affairs Benchmarking: A Comprehensive Guide (1995), Strategic and Competitive Analysis (2003), and has also published over 150 articles and chapters. He has previously served as dean, graduate programme director, chair, and/or professor at the Universities of Calgary, New Brunswick, Wilfrid Laurier (Canada), and Sydney (Australia). His holds a PhD in Business Administration from the Katz Graduate School of Business, University of Pittsburgh.

    Edward A. Grefe is Adjunct Professor of Issues Management and Grassroots Politics at the Graduate School of Political Management at George Washington University and President of Legislative Democratic Services (LDS) Communications Group. In 1995, the Public Affairs Council cited him as the person who “helped ‘invent’ grassroots public affairs.” That accolade was based on his two books on grassroots advocacy as well as countless articles on how to identify and mobilize constituents. In the early 1980s, with a programmer-partner, he developed GAMBIT, the first ever relational database management program to track issues and the activities of activists on both sides of an issue.

    Jennifer J. Griffin is Associate Professor of Strategic Management and Public Policy at the George Washington University School of Business in Washington, DC. She teaches courses in business and public policy, managing strategic issues and corporate strategy. A “Faculty of the Year” MBA teaching award winner, she was also designated a GW Institute of Public Policy Research Scholar in 2002. Her research interests are in corporate public affairs, political strategy, capacity building, and social impact management. She has published numerous management journal articles and has been an invited speaker at the Public Affairs Council, the Canadian Conference Board, and the Washington Campus, among others. Jennifer served as a Trustee of the Board for the Foundation for Public Affairs, board member of the International Association for Business and Society (IABS), Academy of Management member, past president of the GW chapter of Beta Gamma Sigma Business Honorary and Tau Beta Pi engineering honorary member.

    Irene Harris is Director of Academic Projects at the School of Business, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. She has responsibility for a number of projects, including academic accreditation. Her teaching and research interests include management development, management learning and government interventions in training and development. She holds a Business Studies degree, a Masters in Management Learning and a Post Graduate Diploma in Education. She is a member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

    Phil Harris is Chair and Professor of the Department of Marketing at the School of Business, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. Before moving to New Zealand in 2004 he had been joint founder and Director of the highly regarded Centre for Corporate and Public Affairs at Manchester Metropolitan University Business School. From 1999 to 2002 he was Chairman of the Academy of Marketing. He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing Academic Senate and International Board of Trustees. In addition he is a board member of the Global Marketing Special Interest Group of the American Marketing Association and International Research Director of the European Centre for Public Affairs and a past chairman of its Research Committee. Phil is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and Manufacturers and was made a Fellow of the Institute of Public Relations in recognition of his international work in developing the public affairs discipline.

    He is joint founding editor of the Journal of Public Affairs and a member of a number of international editorial and advisory boards. He has published over 150 articles and papers. His most recent books include European Business and Marketing, co-authored with Frank McDonald (Sage, 2004) and Machiavelli, Marketing and Management (Routledge, 2000). He was a parliamentary candidate both at the national and the European level and has been a campaign advisor in the last four UK general elections. He is one of the founders of the recently launched US-based Journal of E-Government and the Journal of Political Marketing. He is a consultant and advisor to various organizations in the corporate, government and not-for-profit sectors.

    Brian Hawkinson serves the corporate public affairs community in two capacities: as Director of the Center for Public Affairs Management (CPAM), a unit of the Washington DC-based Public Affairs Council—the leading professional association for public affairs executives; and as Executive Director of the Foundation for Public Affairs. The CPAM is the analytical, applied research and management-consulting arm of the Council. In that regard, it advances the field of public affairs through collecting and analyzing data, assessing best practices, and providing professional assistance to member organizations in the areas of strategic planning and management, organizational structure, performance measurement and evaluation. The Foundation for Public Affairs conducts and supports research on emerging public policy issues and trends that affect the practice of public affairs. Brian holds a BBA degree in management and marketing from James Madison University and an MBA from the Pamplin College of Business at Virginia Tech.

    Pursey P.M.A.R. Heugens (PhD, Erasmus University) is an Assistant Professor of Organization Theory at the Utrecht School of Economics (the Netherlands). His research interests include public affairs, business ethics, and organization theory. He has published some twenty-five peer-reviewed articles in journals such as Academy of Management Review, Organization Studies, the Journal of Business Ethics, the Journal of Management Studies, and Strategic Organization, and book chapters with publishers such as Oxford University Press, Sage, and Blackwell. Dr. Heugens has guest-edited special issues of the Journal of Public Affairs, the Journal of Business Ethics, and Corporate Reputation Review, and sits on the editorial boards of four scholarly journals.

    John M. Holcomb is Associate Professor of Business Ethics and Legal Studies at the Daniels College of Business, University of Denver. He has over twenty-five years of teaching experience and has been a consultant for several corporations, trade associations, and think-tanks. In 1975, he organized the Foundation for Public Affairs in Washington, DC and was its first executive director. He has written extensively on corporate governance, corporate social responsibility and political strategy campaign finance law, and social movements and political interest groups. He teaches courses on law, ethics, and public policy; on global values; and on international business law. He is a member of the Colorado Commission on Judicial Discipline and is past president of the Rocky Mountain Academy of Legal Studies in Business. He has a JD from Georgetown University Law Center and an MA in Political Science from Vanderbilt University.

    Gerry Keim is Associate Dean (MBA) and Professor of Management, WP Carey School of Business, Arizona State University. He previously taught at the Ivey Business School, Texas A&M and the Stanford Graduate School of Business. An award-winning instructor and frequent consultant and speaker for executive audiences throughout the Americas and Europe, he is a regular visiting professor in the International Management Institute of Austria's Johannes Kepler University and core faculty member of the Washington Campus. His research, teaching and consulting centers on the interface between business and its external political, social and economic environment and developing entrepreneurial capabilities in existing business organizations. His research is published in leading journals including the Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Strategic Management Journal, Sloan Management Review, Journal of Management, Public Choice, Journal of Politics, and California Management Review. He serves on the Board of Trustees of the Public Affairs Foundation, Washington, DC.

    Andreas Lederer lives in Vienna, Austria, and works for Christian Scheucher Consulting Ltd as a political consultant on election campaigns and for corporations in Central and Eastern Europe. He studied political science, philosophy and marketing in Vienna, Copenhagen, London and Los Angles and holds a Masters in Political Science from the University of Vienna. He has published various articles on international political consulting and campaigning. He has also commented on political issues and elections on television.

    Niombo Lomba works as a public affairs consultant in Berlin, Germany. She holds a Masters in Political Science from the University of Augsburg and is a former member of the national executive board of the Green Party in Germany.

    Burdett Loomis is a professor of political science at the University of Kansas. He is currently on leave, serving as the Director of Communications for the Governor of Kansas. He has written extensively on organized interests, the Congress, public policy, and political careers, and has edited or written in more than twenty-five books, including seven editions of Interest Group Politics (with Allan Cigler). He served as an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow (1975–76) and has been a guest scholar at the Brookings Institution.

    Conor McGrath has been Lecturer in Political Lobbying and Public Affairs at the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland since 1999. He served in 2000 as the founding chairman of the Northern Ireland Government Affairs Group. In addition, he acts as Head of Education at the Public Relations Institute of Ireland. Before becoming an academic he worked for a Conservative MP in London and a Republican Congressman, as Public Affairs Director at a PR company, and as a self-employed political consultant. His research interests include the education and training of lobbyists, the fictional representation of lobbyists, international and transnational lobbying, the communication dimension of lobbying, lobbying as a form of political marketing, and the personal characteristics and professional skills of lobbyists. His book Perspectives on Lobbying: Washington, London, Brussels, is published in 2005.

    Lord Tom McNally was elected the leader of the Liberal Democrats in the UK House of Lords in October 2004. He has served as Party spokesman on trade, broadcasting and home affairs. He has also been Deputy Leader in the Lords since 2001. He has served on the Select Committees on Freedom of Information and on the Public Service, as well as the Puttnam Committee on the Communications Bill. From 1969 to 1974 he was International Secretary of the Labour Party, and from 1974 to 1979 was Political Secretary to the Rt Hon. James Callaghan. From 1979 to 1983 he was MP for Stockport South. He left the Labour Party to join the SDP in 1981 and served on the Federal Executive of the Liberal Democrats from the formation of the Party in 1988 until 1998. He also served as political advisor to the Rt Hon. Paddy Ashdown, 1988–98. Out of Parliament, he was appointed a Parliamentary advisor to GEC (1983–84) and then Director General of the British Retail Consortium (1985–87). In 1987, he joined public relations firm Hill and Knowlton as Director of Public Affairs, before moving to a similar position at Shandwick Public Relations in 1993. He subsequently became Vice-Chairman of Shandwick. In 2003, he was appointed to the new post of non-executive Vice-Chairman of Weber Shandwick following the take-over of Shandwick by American communications giant Interpublic.

    Martin Meznar received his PhD in International Business from the University of South Carolina. He is currently an Associate Professor of Management in the School of Global Management and Leadership, Arizona State University in Phoenix. A highly regarded instructor, his teaching responsibilities are in the areas of strategic management and international business. His research interests include corporate social responsibility and public affairs management in multinational corporations. A long-contributing member of the Academy of International Business, Academy of Management, and International Association of Business & Society, his work has been published in a variety of outlets including the Academy of Management Journal, Business & Society, the Journal of International Management and the Journal of Public Affairs.

    Dr Bruce I. Newman is currently Professor of Marketing at DePaul University founding Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Political Marketing; and recently Visiting Scholar at the Institute of Government at the University of California-Berkeley and in the Department of Political Science at Stanford University. He has published nine books (including The Marketing of the President and Handbook of Political Marketing) and numerous articles on the subjects of political marketing and consumer psychology. Dr Newman lectures around the world on the topics of political and business marketing, and is represented by World Class Speakers & Entertainers (http://www.speak.com). In 1993, Dr Newman received the Ehrenring (Ring of Honor) from the Austrian Advertising Research Association in Vienna for his research in political marketing, and during 1995–1996 he advised the Clinton White House on communication strategy.

    William D. Oberman is Associate Professor of Business in the John L. Grove College of Business, Shippensburg University, Pennsylvania. He received his PhD from the University of Pittsburgh's Katz Graduate School of Business and has been on the faculties at the Universities of New Mexico, Penn State, and Pittsburgh. He has published many articles on business-government relations and has continuing research interests in the areas of social networks, conceptions of corporate social responsibility and business involvement in the public policy process. He teaches MBA and undergraduate courses in business and society, business ethics, business and public policy, and strategic management. He is a long-time contributing member of the Social Issues in Management division of the Academy of Management and the International Association of Business and Society.

    Robin Pedler is an Associate Fellow of Templeton College, Oxford University. He is also Academic Director of the European Training Institute, Brussels. He had a career in international management, becoming Director, External Relations Europe, with Mars. In 1991 he returned to academic life. He has conducted ‘EU Presidency’ training with government officials in Belgium, Finland, Sweden and the UK. He has worked extensively in recently joined states. Publications include European Union Lobbying: Changes in the Arena – 14 Case Studies and Shaping European Law and Policy – the role of committees and comitology in the political process.

    Douglas G. Pinkham is the president of the Public Affairs Council of America. Under his leadership, the Council has expanded its Internet-based services, management consulting practice and research on emerging public affairs trends. Prior to joining the Council, Mr Pinkham was vice president of communications for the American Gas Association (AGA). He is also an accredited member of the Public Relations Society of America. He serves on the boards of the Center for Ethics in Government, the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship, and the European Centre for Public Affairs. He is also a judge in the Points of Light Foundation's Awards of Excellence in Corporate Community Service. He has authored numerous articles for trade and professional magazines around the world and is a frequent speaker on public affairs issues, politics, communications and corporate management.

    Rinus van Schendelen has been Professor in Political Science at Erasmus University, Rotterdam, since 1980. He has written many books and articles on lobbying and public affairs management, particularly at the EU level. His most recent books are Machiavelli in Brussels: The Art of Lobbying the EU (2002) and (co-editor) The Unseen Hand: Unelected EU Legislators (2003). He frequently trains lobby groups at the EU level.

    Christian Scheucher holds Masters degrees from Harvard and the University of Vienna. He currently runs Christian Scheucher Consulting Ltd, a political and public affairs consulting firm working internationally for candidates and corporations. Political consulting focuses on election campaigns in Central and Eastern Europe to the Caucasian States. Corporate work on CEO-level only includes clients in health care, communications and infrastructure. He is also the European Editor for the Journal of Public Affairs.

    James Shaw is Community Affairs Manager at Nexen Inc., based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. From his early start in the petroleum industry as a surface land negotiator, Jim has tirelessly sought resolution to stakeholder issues through open dialogue, clear communication and innovative engagement initiatives. His successes in stakeholder engagement have made him a sought-after speaker on the subject, having presented in Canada, Europe and South America. Jim has studied at the University of Calgary, holds an advanced certificate in Corporate Community Involvement from Boston College and is a Canadian Registered Safety Professional.

    Patrick Shaw was a senior research fellow at the Melbourne Business School (MBS) in the 1970s and has established successful stakeholder engagement initiatives for several major Canadian projects. He is managing director of Quorum Strategic Inc., a management consulting and strategic communications firm (http://www.quorumstrategic.com). His practice includes clients in natural resource, financial services, health care and technology organizations where he helps establish communication-leveraged change, inside and outside. His work often draws upon the disciplines of stakeholder engagement, issues management, risk, and crisis communication. Pat has been an active member of the International Association of Business Communicators and has served as president of the 1,400 member Toronto chapter. He is a member of the Institute of Corporate Directors of Canada. He holds a BScAg from the University of Alberta.

    Amy Showalter heads the Showalter Group, Inc., and is employed by leading organizations to help improve their grassroots and PAC effectiveness. Her clients include national trade associations and Fortune 500 companies including Southwest Airlines, American Heart Association, New York Life Insurance, Kraft Foods, National Federation of Independent Business, ConocoPhillips, and the Dow Chemical Company, among others. She is a faculty member of the US Chamber's Institute for Organization Management, as well as The http://Capitol.Net. She serves on the Board of the Washington Area State Relations Group and the Government Relations Section Council of the American Society of Association Executives. Amy is the co-founder and producer of Innovate to Motivate, the largest national conference for grassroots and PAC professionals, author of Beyond Fundraisers and Fly-Ins—105 Ways to Keep in Touch with Your Elected Officials All Year as well as more than 50 articles on grassroots and PAC development.

    Thomas Spencer is Executive Director of the European Centre for Public Affairs at the SEMS School of Management, University of Surrey, Guildford and Visiting Professor of Public Affairs at Brunel University, Uxbridge. As a committed environmentalist he was, from 1995 to 1999, President of GLOBE International (Global Legislators Organization for a Balanced Environment) that links four hundred members of parliament worldwide. From 2002 to 2003 he was Chairman of Counterpart Europe, an NGO active in sixty countries. He was also a Commissioner of the Commission on Globalization between 2000 and 2003, and Co-Moderator of the “National Sovereignty and Universal Challenges: Choices for the World after Iraq” conference held in Brussels in June 2003.

    Tom Spencer writes, lectures and broadcasts widely. He holds the Great Golden Medal for Merit of the Republic of Austria (1996) and the Forum for the Future's Green Ribbon Award (1999). He is a member of the Council of Federal Trust and a Trustee of the Friends of Europe organization.

    Clive S. Thomas is Professor of Political Science and Chair of the Department of Social Science at the University of Alaska, Juneau. His publications include books, articles and chapters on interest groups, most recently the Research Guide to US and International Interest Groups (2004). He has been a volunteer lobbyist and teaches seminars on lobby organization and tactics. During 1997–1998 and spring 2000 he was a Fulbright Senior Research Scholar in Brussels, studying American interest groups operating in the European Union. He has also received Fulbright awards to the Slovak Republic and to Argentina and Peru.

    Simon Titley studied International Relations at the University of Keele, and has been an active member of the British Liberal and Liberal Democrat parties since 1975. He began his professional career in 1979 in the national headquarters of the Liberal Party, and subsequently worked in various political and NGO campaign roles. He has been a public affairs consultant since 1993, based in both London and Brussels, specializing in designing and organizing grassroots and media campaigns. From 1998 to 1999, he was one of the organizers of the Save Duty Free Campaign, the first major application of pressure group-style campaign techniques to an EU business lobbying effort.

    Duane Windsor is Lynette S. Autrey Professor of Management in Rice University's Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Management, Houston, Texas. He teaches courses in leadership and business ethics in the MBA for Executives program and an MBA elective in public-nonprofit financial and strategic management. Previously he taught required MBA courses in legal and government processes and in strategy. His published work emphasizes anti-corruption efforts, corporate social responsibility, and stakeholder theory. His publications include “Public Affairs, Issues Management, and Political Strategy: Opportunities, Obstacles, and Caveats”, Journal of Public Affairs (January 2002) and “The Development of International Business Norms”, Business Ethics Quarterly (October 2004). He co-authored, with Lee E. Preston, The Rules of the Game in the Global Economy: Policy Regimes for International Business (1997, 1992). He earned his BA from Rice University (Political Science); AM and PhD from Harvard University (Political Economy and Government).

    Foreword

    It's remarkable that a working knowledge of public affairs is not required of every business school graduate. Students learn the essentials of finance, marketing, and operations management, but many don't do more than dip a toe into the waters of politics, regulation, corporate reputation, and social responsibility.

    Why? For one thing, public affairs trends and outcomes are difficult to measure and analyze. It's not easy to turn case studies about a company's business environment into flow charts and predictive models. The externalities faced by a business are numerous and oftentimes unique to that company's history, industry sector, location, and place in the market.

    This is not to say that business schools ignore the subject altogether. Indeed, many offer electives on “Business and the Environment,” “Social Issues in Management,” and “Legal Issues in Management” or “Business Law.” Some even focus directly on the role of government in society. But if a financial manager (and future CEO) goes into graduate school with the goal of studying finance, he or she can do just that— and gain only minimal exposure to the ways in which public policy and public opinion affect an organization's success.

    As a result, many of the world's most influential companies are run and managed by individuals who lack an understanding of public affairs.

    These are very bright people, however. When they see the collapse of the GE-Honeywell merger, antitrust suits facing Microsoft, local opposition to the opening of new Wal-Mart stores, or the global protests against McDonald's and Citibank, they know that something difficult and unpredictable is going on.

    Many corporate leaders are now realizing that the externalities facing their business models are as vexing as their operational or competitive challenges. The problem is that many have not integrated public affairs considerations into their overall business strategy. That means their decisions and organization's responses may be ineffective or counterproductive.

    To make matters worse, corporations are still living in the shadow of Enron, Global Crossing, WorldCom, $6,000 shower curtains, insider trading, and other corporate scandals. Unfortunately, the public's distrust of business will probably get worse before it gets better. It is interesting to note that a 2004 poll by Harris Interactive showed that 74 percent of the public believes Corporate America's reputation is either “not good” or “terrible.” It should come as no surprise that even a well-meaning business leader from a reputable company may find him- or herself facing hostile consumers, investors, and employees.

    At the same time, it has become apparent to even the most free-market-thinking top executive that government and its influence are here to stay. The government decides how business is conducted, who owns information, who merges or acquires another firm and who pays what taxes. The rise of globalization, concerns about homeland security, and governance rules created by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act have actually done much to expand the role of government in the United States. In state capitals, in Brussels, in Washington, DC—everywhere—there are many responsible people hard at work developing and implementing public policies.

    Companies that do understand the public affairs challenges often face internal tests. The pace of business often makes it difficult to think and act in the long term—or to coordinate complex enterprises and relationships. According to research conducted by the Foundation for Public Affairs (Washington, DC), more than one-third of corporations don't highly coordinate the activities of government relations and corporate communications departments. At a minimum, this means they are leaving business opportunities on the table. But it also means that they may not be doing a good job of managing the company's risk levels in the marketplace.

    In this environment, companies (as well as non-profit organizations) need to understand all aspects of public affairs strategy. The Handbook of Public Affairs is a comprehensive guide to best knowledge and practices in the field. It explains the relationship between public policy and business performance, public affairs tools and tactics, and effective management systems. Case studies are used to examine how public affairs and politics intersect in North America, the European Union and other regions of the world. In its final section the book ties together cutting-edge scholarly developments in the public affairs field with real-world trends in business and government.

    The net effect is an authoritative source of knowledge about a vitally important management function. Everyone—from business school deans to chief executive officers to seasoned public affairs executives—can find information in The Handbook of Public Affairs to help them achieve their reputation and public policy-related goals.

    Douglas G.Pinkham

    Foreword

    If you count in my time as a student politician I have spent forty years in active politics. During that time I have worked as a party official, a civil servant, a Member of Parliament, as in-house advisor to a large manufacturing company as director-general of a major trade association and as director of public affairs for two of the world's largest PR agencies, Hill & Knowlton and Weber Shandwick. For the last nine years I have also been a member of the House of Lords.

    I give that brief outline of my career to explain why it gives me such pleasure to contribute alongside Douglas Pinkham a foreword to this Handbook of Public Affairs. My forty-year odyssey through public life has given me a front-row seat to watch the development of public affairs from a minor monitoring service to a fullblown profession. The bringing together in this publication of both academic and hands-on professional expertise is a welcome sign of that coming of age. Public affairs is now carried out by trained practitioners working to the highest standards of professional ethics. The service they provide is based on research, analysis, and experience. Over the last forty years public affairs has moved from being an optional extra for the PR department to being an operational necessity in the boardroom. It is as much flying blind in the modern corporate world to take decisions without public affairs advice as it would be to do so without financial or legal advice.

    We live in a world of instant 24/7 communication which makes the capacity to absorb, analyze, and advise on developing events a key asset for public affairs practitioners. So too is an understanding of political decision making at local, regional, national, and international level. The power and reach of regulators and their capacity to adopt best practice from each other, the pace and direction of international trade agreements, the likely impact of new technologies, the opening up of new markets, all need a public affairs understanding and input.

    So too does the work of non-governmental organizations and pressure groups. Reputation management and corporate social responsibility are all concepts relatively new to the boardroom agenda. Yet miscalculations and mistakes in these areas can have catastrophic impacts on the bottom line. Neither should we assume that this handbook will be for boardroom reading only. The NGOs and pressure groups have become increasingly sophisticated and professional in presenting their cases.

    In the end this increase in professionalism on all sides is a major contribution to better governance. It was an American practitioner who said that where one lobbyist is at work the public interest may be under threat but where many are at work the public interest is enhanced. I have seen the truth of that observation from both sides of the fence. I have used my professional experience to enable a client to make the right case to the right person at the right time to make sure that a particular piece of legislation came out in a way helpful to a company. As a parliamentarian I have used the expert briefing of lobbyists to test and probe the likely effectiveness of proposed legislation.

    Public Affairs today is an essential ingredient both in good corporate governance and of more effective and efficient law making. Some of the damage done to public affairs by scandals in the past were part of the growing pains of a profession which grew too fast for its own and external regulation to cope. Today however, on both sides of the Atlantic, and more widely internationally, there are legal frameworks and professional codes of conduct which safeguard the interests of both clients and public affairs professionals.

    Greater transparency, increased professionalism, and increased academic study and support all come together to underpin a profession now enjoying maturity. The Handbook of Public Affairs is both a testament to that maturity and an invaluable working manual for those working in or wishing to understand public affairs.

    Lord TomMcNally

    Preface

    A prudent man must always follow in the footsteps of great men and imitate those who have been outstanding. If his own prowess fails to compare with theirs, at least it has an air of greatness about it.

    (NiccoloMachiavelli)

    The Handbook of Public Affairs has been designed and planned to be a high-quality pivotal text of leading-edge articles, which will act as the core reference point for those practising in, researching, or studying public affairs in Europe, America, and Australasia. There are increasing amounts of published research in this field and it is an area of professional practice that has seen substantial growth over the past decade. Public affairs, and particularly government relations/lobbying, have evolved from a tactic adopted by organizations to amend occasional legislation to become a major international managerial strategy to achieve competitive advantage.

    The rapidly increasing strategic role of public affairs has been spurred on by the trend towards deregulation, privatization, and regulation. This, together with the globalization of business operations and a surge in transnational government legislation (European Union, North American Free Trade Area, World Trade Organization) has forced organizations of all types to pay greater attention to their relationship with government—at all levels. The formal approval of acquisitions, alliances, mergers, standard setting, and takeovers is increasingly under scrutiny of government as it attempts to regulate markets and trade. The regulation of auditing and the large accountancy groups is now much on the world public affairs agenda and exercising leading corporate, political, and research minds as they attempt to produce good corporate governance.

    The increasing role of government as regulator as old corporatist linkages break down under globalization is a phenomenon that public affairs practitioners and corporations have to deal with on a daily and yet strategic basis. The transfer of publicly owned businesses to the private sector such as energy, telecommunications, and water utilities has directly stimulated the increasing importance of the public affairs area.

    In addition the growth of increasingly powerful and well organized pressure groups, which are capable of mobilizing strong opposition to organizations whose policies they disagree with, has further stimulated public affairs work, stakeholder programs, political campaigning, and lobbying activity. Technological advances within the media now allow events in virtually any part of the world to be screened almost instantaneously, subjecting the behaviour of organizations even in the most remote parts of the globe to worldwide media and public scrutiny. The global dialogue on trade, commerce, and investment involves business executives, government officials, and representatives of non-governmental organizations. Not surprisingly, this dialogue often includes environmental (ecological), social, sustainability, and community issues. Thus the entire business-government-society relationship is open to discussion, debate, and redefinition throughout the world.

    Businesses, government agencies, and NGOs have a stake in cultivating a dialogue that is informed, fact-driven, and progressive. Population growth, the need for improved quality of life, military security, human rights, and sustainable economic and ecological practices are among the broad issues shaping the public agenda for nations across the globe. Constructive dialogue depends on accurate information, commitment to human interaction, and the willingness to think long as well as short term.

    If you have any suggestions for improvements to The Handbook of Public Affairs please let us know, as we intend to update this cutting edge work on a regular basis.

    PhilHarris and Craig S.Fleisher

    Acknowledgments

    In putting together the first Handbook of Public Affairs there are many people we owe thanks to. It has been a long task and one which at times has seemed very daunting. “Where do you start and where do you end?” we kept on saying. The discipline is an evolving and dynamic one and we hope we have done it credit in an international context. Thanks are due to many. First our advisory board, which represents many of the leading figures in the field; Geoff Allen, Tim Clement-Jones, Mark Hatcher, Raymond Hoewing, Andrew Lock, John Mahon, Tom McNally, Danny Moss, Bruce Newman, James Post, Tom Spencer, and Teresa Yancey Crane, whose support, kindness, and singleminded support have been very important to us. There are the unsung heroes who typed and did background research for us, invariably at the last moment and at breakneck speed. These included Anna Gunnell, Victor Knip, Heather Lings, May Nhan, Maddie Maher, Jessica Smith, and the library and research staff of our respective institutions. We also would particularly like to thank the support of our respective business schools in Canada (Odette), Manchester (MMUBS), and New Zealand (Otago) without whose support and research funding we would never have been able to produce what we believe is a groundbreaking guide to effective international public affairs. Also to organizations across the world such as the Academy of Marketing Political Marketing Group, the Australian Centre for Corporate Public Affairs, Canadian Council for Public Affairs Advancement, European Centre for Public Affairs, International Association of Business and Society, International Association of Business Communicators, International Public Relations Research Symposium, Public Affairs Association of Canada, UK Centre for Corporate and Public Affairs at Manchester Metropolitan University, US Center for PA Management (Washington, DC) and the Journal of Public Affairs and its publishers, Henry Stewart, of London. The latter, which is becoming the leading journal in the field, helped in the development and underpinning of the work.

    Most importantly we thank Sage and our superbly encouraging editor, Delia Alfonso Martinez, who encouraged and supported us at every stage of the development of the Handbook regardless of the time and other pressures. Finally, and perhaps most important to us, can we thank Irene Harris, Angela, Zachary, Austin, and Kieren Fleisher for their patience, support, and good humour. It was freely given and gratefully received.

    Phil and Craig

    Introduction: The Development of a Sub-discipline and Major Area of Research

    One change leaves the way open for the introduction of others.

    NiccoloMachiavelli, The Prince

    The Handbook of Public Affairs is the first international research-focused book to capture the true depth and essence of this rapidly growing and strategically important management discipline. We hope it will act as the core reference point for those practicing in, researching or studying public affairs in Europe, North America, and the wider world. We believe it reflects the leading practice and thinking in this rapidly growing area of strategic management. All the chapters have been specially commissioned and reviewed to ensure they reflect the best of international practice in public affairs.

    The book is laid out in four parts: I The Environments of Public Affairs, II Tools, Techniques and Organizing for Public Affairs, III Case Studies in Public Affairs, IV Scholarship and Theory Building in Public Affairs. Each part has a comprehensive introduction and linking section, which outlines the content of each section. To underpin the depth of the area we have deliberately extended Part III, Case Studies in Public Affairs, to enable the reader to appreciate national and international practice fully.

    Public affairs strategy we see as being dominated by the need to influence policy. There are three broad historic definitions of public affairs. The first is that it is the policy formulation process of public and corporate stakeholder programmes. For instance, in the United Kingdom most broadcasting franchise holders such as Granada, Channel 4, etc., have developed regular practical programs to ensure good two-way dialog with all commercial, political, and regional interests to maintain and strengthen their position both alongside the franchise offerer (government) and the regulator. The second is that it is the corporate consideration of the impact of environmental (in its broadest sense), political, and social developments on a company and the opinion-leader contact programs which follow. For example, both in Brussels and in Whitehall it is interesting to see which takeovers and mergers are favored or frowned upon by government regulators controlled by politicians. The same can be seen in the United States, with politicians being more inclined to support one airline company than another. Planned airline mergers and the operation of through ticketing initiatives can be supported or not by politicians, and much of this support or lack of it is gained over a period of time. The final definition is more focused and has very strong North American origins. It is the totality of government affairs or relations. The latter in Europe would mean government at local, regional, national, and transnational levels, operated by elected and/or appointed officials, whilst in the United States the focus is on Washington and/or the state legislatures.

    This handbook touches upon the first two definitions but for its direction focuses on the strategic use of government affairs as the core component of modern public affairs work. The reason for taking this approach is simply that it is often the most strategically important area to the company or organization and invariably reflects those issues that could be considered under the first two definitions. The reason for the hegemony of government affairs within the public affairs function is that government activity has grown dramatically in the last twenty years at all levels, a result of internationalism, deregulation, and regulation across all sectors of business. Increasingly the area of public affairs is playing a strategic role within the company or organization as it attempts to position itself in changing environments where government is responding to various environmental pressures to modify policy.

    Business Organizations

    For companies in the private sector, the influence of government is ever present, whether in the form of tax payments to be made, technical standards to be met, or safety, health, and environmental laws that need to be complied with, and so on. The United Kingdom's membership of the European Union has meant even more additional legislation and directives coming from the Commission, Parliament and other European bodies on common issues, such as environmental legislation. It has been argued that over 70 percent of domestic legislation in this area comes from Brussels; for instance, setting standards on water quality, air pollution, and packaging standards all comes from this source. While businesses have to ensure they are always up to date on all legislation and policy decisions, they also need to identify issues which might result in legislation if they are not addressed early and well enough.

    However, rather than just monitoring developments in one's immediate business environment, one needs to be proactive and take an active part in the policy formulation process, by using one's right to express one's views and concerns. Only then is one able to shape the outcome, to amend, to delay or prevent legislation altogether. Here, for example, carbon taxes coming from legislators and their respective governments can have a significant impact on the profitability and viability of chemical and oil companies. Thus a dialog about implementation, the impact of tax on countries' interests, the level of tax and giving background data on the implications of a program in this area can be vital for the strategic success and direction of the organization. For companies operating in such regulated markets as telecommunications, the media or pharmaceuticals, it is vital that they have this regular two-way dialog with government or face legislation which may be against their strategic interest.

    In the case of public sector organizations, government has more direct control over the strategic direction and shape of their operation. Consequently there is a need to ensure government listens to the organization's corporate views, but it must be remembered that sometimes determined politicians do not want to hear strategic views from state organizations.

    Despite the surge in privatization policies across the world over the last two decades many privatized industries and public service providers are still under indirect government control as they are frequently answerable to regulatory bodies which set and review prices and quality standards for the products and services of many of the industries. To discuss any desired or threatening change in regulation, these regulators have to be approached and are thus regularly exposed to extensive lobbying.

    The importance of influencing government policy for the corporate entity is essential at a number of levels, as it frequently impacts upon the direction and strategy of the company. Examples are that government can be a source of income, as customer (defense equipment procurement is an obvious example) or finance provider by offering support in the form of grants or export credits to underpin preferred policy initiatives. In takeover, merger, and corporate cooperation activity it can have a direct impact by considering referral to the various national and international competition authorities or even the World Trade Organization. A referral or long delay at one of these bodies can cause serious damage to a company, which could be reflected in its share value, which might be part of a planned competitor's activity. Thus it is essential that ahead of any action in this area the relevant regulatory authorities are sounded out to check out their reaction to anticipated corporate action. By taking this approach one can reduce risk and increase the likelihood of being given government approval for the planned merger/cooperation activity or, alternatively, decide not to progress with what will almost certainly not be given approval. In addition one can use this area of government regulation to apply pressure to fend off unwanted takeovers.

    For charities, NGOs, and pressure groups, legislation is also important, but often in a more positive way than for business organizations, since it can help to protect or support their beneficiaries. In addition, charities can make officials pay attention to small but important details, as, for example, the need to remember at the planning stage to make buildings accessible to disabled people.

    The core reasons for the growth and rising importance of public affairs as a management discipline would appear to be:

    • Increased internationalization and competition in business markets increases the importance of governments creating a competitive business environment.
    • Importation and influence of a more structured corporate lobbying system from the United States whose objective is to influence legislation affecting business markets.
    • Increased corporate acquisition, merger, strategic alliance, and joint venture activity.
    • The growth of international and transnational government is generating substantial legislation affecting businesses, for example on the environment. This has brought lobbying at an international and national level to ensure business s voice is heard when proposals are being formulated.

    Shaping the external environment by influencing government through lobbying activities or corporate campaigning is now typical of strategic marketing management practice, whether it be for business, public or not-for-profit sectors. The relevance of such activities stems, of course, from the fact that there is hardly an item of legislation passed through the EU, UK or US legislatures which does not in some way encroach upon business interests or impinge on organizational goals. The proposal to tax audio tapes (Harris and Lock, 1996), for example, would have affected a variety of organizations, including educationalists and charities such as the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB), not to mention a large number of consumers of blank tapes. Discreet organizing via a commercial lobbyist company funded as part of a coalition of interests by the European Japanese Electronic Manufacturers Association resulted in the proposals being substantially amended. Changing the wording of a proposal or the insertion of a special exception in regulations can be worth millions of dollars, euros or pounds to commercial organizations and be crucial to the survival of nonprofit organizations' activities.

    The “golden rule” of lobbying is to get involved as early as possible. Also, one should not expect to enter a consultation and be able to demand changes. Government officials and servants need to be cultivated before they are needed, which means one has to invest in building good personal relationships of trust, not by wining and dining them but by supplying reliable and sufficient information whenever asked and keeping them generally well informed about relevant developments and concerns. Once the need to influence policy arises, one has to have a well prepared and strongly argued case. Length and depth of the relationships established with key figures are important but if one is asking for a favor without convincing arguments to found it on, it is difficult for the other side to see one's point.

    One also has to be prepared to compromise. Even a small step into the desired direction is often a success, compared with achieving nothing because one is not ready to negotiate. “Cooperation, not confrontation” should always be the motto.

    Targeting

    To approach government effectively, the key people involved in the relevant decision-making process need to be identified as clearly as possible, which requires knowledge of government structure and the relation of each element to the overall policy-making process. Listed below is a taxonomy of situations in which government is involved, and the suggested relative importance of public affairs in influencing outcomes.

    • Government as purchaser or allocator:
      • Winner takes all. In a number of situations, there is only one contract or opportunity to be bid for. Lottery franchises are a good example. Price is rarely the sole criterion. The public decision is usually very visible and lobbying is rife.
      • Large, infrequent contracts. Defense and large public works contracts are typical of this category. Increasingly failure to obtain such contracts threatens the very existence of the company or a strategic business unit with a visible and politically delicate impact on employment.
      • Regularly supplied items. Apart from highly specialized items, these are usually supplied through standard purchasing procedures, notably by competitive tender. These procedures leave little scope for lobbying, except in so far as it may be necessary to qualify a supplier to be included in the approved list or to pass any other pre-tender hurdles.
    • Government as legislator and framer of regulations. Legislation on matters such as product safety, trademarks and intellectual property, and fair trading are obvious targets for business lobbying, to ensure that legitimate interests are protected. However, it is easily forgotten that a great many matters that affect specific businesses are enacted through regulations under enabling legislation. Visible examples are vehicle Construction and Use regulations, and regulations affecting food and agriculture. Lobbying is important here to ensure that regulations are sensibly framed and represent an appropriate balance of business and other pressure group interests.
    • Government as initiator of action. There are a number of explicit circumstances in which the relevant secretary of state initiates action by a quango or similar body. The most familiar case is the Monopolies and Mergers Commission in the UK. In other examples, where a quango can initiate action itself, the government of the day exerts some influence in terms of matters that are taken up and is frequently the final arbiter in terms of action upon the recommendations it receives. Lobbying in terms of provision of information as well as persuasive communication plays an important role in shaping the progress of events.
    • Government and European legislation and regulation. With the increasing influence of US and European directives and regulations upon product markets, proper representation of manufacturers' interests has become critical in those areas which the EU and the US is seeking to regulate.
    • Government as decision maker. There are a range of other situations where the government has de facto or de jure powers to take decisions which affect business.

    We have conducted extensive research with politicians, government officials, and public affairs professionals in America and Europe and what emerges is that organizations can be seriously disadvantaged if they are not providing information to support their long-term business positions or counter their national and international corporate competitors by providing information to relevant bodies. This may well sound very logical, but the reality is that a number of interests and companies lack the know-how or understanding of the various EU, UK or US government processes and their ability to develop policy and regulations which impact upon them and the markets in which they operate. This puts them at a serious disadvantage.

    In certain markets it is more important for the corporation or organization to be involved in supplying information to the government process because of regulation or deregulation. Major business areas where lobbying is essential are pharmaceuticals, broadcasting, utilities, transport and infrastructure contracts, etc. The need to lobby and influence government policy as the world internationalizes is increasing rather than decreasing, and lobbying is becoming a highly professionalized, invariably ethical, and increasingly regulated part of business strategy. The Handbook of Public Affairs with its quality advice from some of the world's leading figures and researchers will allow you to understand the discipline more and practice it even better.

    PhilHarris and Craig S.Fleisher
    References
    Harris, P.A.Lock“Machiavellian Marketing: The Development of Corporate Lobbying in the UK”Journal of Marketing Management12(4)(1996).
    Machiavelli, Niccolo(1532).The Prince, trans. G. Bull.London: Penguin (1961).
  • Conclusion

    I think that this would be the true way to go to paradise: to learn the way to hell in order to flee it.

    Machiavelli, in a letter to Guicciardini

    Public affairs has grown significantly into one of the major areas of strategic management activity over the past decade. In the United States, as well as being a multibillion-dollar based business around Washington, DC, it also has its equivalent epicenters around each state government and international operations focused on the World Trade Organization and World Bank. In Europe, the bulk of the coordination of EU activity is centered on Brussels, with major activities also being focused on the prime EU capitals, London, Paris, and Berlin being particularly significant. Other public affairs centers in the European Union are growing, as with Geneva because of the WTO, and the Swiss banking system is another contact point. In Australia there is a well developed industry centered on Melbourne and Canberra, whilst other regional capitals are beginning to show steady growth and development.

    What is missing in our burgeoning discipline and trade is how public affairs practice is beginning to emerge in Asia, the largest populated continent, which is predicted to dominate world trade and therefore maybe public affairs over the next few decades. Trade alliances, the development of collaborative ventures and markets, are yet to be explored and written about by the discipline. One such example is Central and Eastern Europe and their gradual incorporation into the developed-world market via core centers like Vienna, Berlin, Prague, Warsaw, and perhaps Ljubljana. The development of much of China's nascent public affairs industry is focused on key entry points such as Singapore, Shanghai, Beijing, and Hong Kong, with many specialists and international groups leading the way. How deals, legislation, and policy are developed in the People's Republic clearly is going to be a major focus of public affairs over the next decade, although one can point to the likelihood that activity will be centered on the great twenty-year plan and therefore will be very long term in nature. Similar explorations of major markets and democracies such as India and Japan and how public affairs practice is developing will also be one of the great growth areas over the period.

    Predicting what will be successful strategies in public affairs is difficult. But one can be sure that the worldwide industry is professionalizing. Increasingly it is quality communicators, who understand and can connect into complex policy networks, that will be in demand in the area of public affairs. The CEO who can head up and advise on policy options will be at the forefront of public affairs and will be increasingly in demand, for shaping the business and external policy in a complex globally based stakeholder environment which will be their core business. Whether it is large corporate legal groups moving into the area to influence regulatory activity on behalf of clients or world accounting groups, international consultants will operate to amend legislation, frame better trade deals, or deal with the raft of environmental and regulatory measures that are becoming part of everyday international trade life. As energy supplies come at an ever higher premium price and demand for resources increases, so will lobbying activity and international operations to amend, champion, and modify legislation and interest group activities on behalf of clients.

    As in the past decade the ability of small businesses to operate and influence world trade will remain small. Only effective transnational groupings will succeed at this, or inevitably SMEs will have limited influence. Correct strategies for them will be to form industry collaborations and then to develop transnational collaborations with interest groups and others to allow them better access into the policy and decision-making process. Sadly, there are a great many small business and interest groups at the international level who do not influence policy making, but just seem to represent interests and do little to strengthen their members' competitive position. Large multinational groups will continue to dominate public affairs and strategic policy making.

    Public affairs will increasingly be seen as the strategic core business function for companies, interest groups, and government organizations that wish to compete successfully and operate internationally. Public affairs and its associated activities will increasingly be at the leading edge as an interpreter of complex governmental policies and stakeholder group demands. Corruption, illegal trade, unethical business activity, and the need for high public standards to maintain quality trade and relationships will all stimulate the growth of international public affairs. International standards of public life and comparators in ethical dealings will see significant growth.

    Predicting the next ten years from 2005 is treacherous and one does feel a little like a cornered snake oil salesman at times or even a spiritualist holding a séance to find answers. Is there anybody there? What will go right? What will go wrong? From our international vantage point (both sides of the pond and now Down Under), huge growth in activity will move to Asia, and Washington, Geneva, New York and Brussels will play leading roles in developing the industry throughout that continent.

    Given regulation of electoral expenditure and lobbying, increased linkages will become more evident between the funding of politicians and political campaigns. Interest group activity around this area will be increasingly more evident and easier to follow. Pressure and environmental groups may even be more open about which corporations, states and businesses they favor and disfavor (already relatively evident to many of us but not freely admitted). The broad international public may even become more aware that some interest groups have bigger budgets than many developing countries in Africa and Asia and certainly more influence on global and certain national pieces of legislation. Quality public affairs results will be carried out by the most senior staff, with a background in law, finance, business, politics or government administration. The ability to access personal networks will be core, and direct personal conversation via personal contact either face to face or by phone will still dominate. Letters and other personal communications will continue to be used by the most senior and most effective operators in the industry. At a lower level e-mail and other communications will be used, such as texting, but will be applied more at the operational, middle management level or to support general communications and campaigns. The power of personal contact and advocacy will remain to the fore.

    Technology that aids high-quality interpersonal communication and which cannot be easily accessed or abused will be adopted throughout the industry. Major quality policy-making events, briefing sessions, and trade activities will still be prime events for public affairs professions to meet. But world events that attract those who want to make a noise or destroy world capitalism will not be well supported. Closed-circuit policy loops, specialist symposia, and colloquia where people can share experience and practice will still be much in demand. Political conventions and conferences will be prime places for public affairs people to meet and share practice and gain access to legislators. Pressure and interest group campaigns will increasingly utilize cellphone and equivalent communication systems to marshal campaigns and pressure legislators. Eventually a comprehensive list of mobile phone numbers worldwide will aid advocacy groups.

    Finally many NGOs will almost certainly have as much influence as corporations, especially if they are honest and open in their advocacy. Trust, intelligence, and high ethical standards will remain at the heart of public affairs work.

    But one thing consoles me: when something involves a number of people, no one person in particular can be blamed.

    The Mandrake Root

    End Piece

    The public affairs industry and associated research are rapidly evolving. We now have a good grasp of the issues in North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, elsewhere we have gaps. The discipline has a number of core magazines, newsletters and journals such as the Journal of Public Affairs, which has now published over one million words of research since 2000 and has a full international practitioner and university-based researcher editorial board. Readers of this text are invited to contribute articles to the journal courtesy of this editor at PHarris@business.otago.ac.nz. In addition, to strengthen the research fraternity of practitioners and researchers in Public Affairs and to share best practice and knowledge and aid international collaboration, we have launched a new e-mail list which we hope you will join. The list can be joined by sending an e-mail to Public-Affairs@jiscmail.ac.uk. We look forward to hearing from you.

    Phil and Craig

    • Loading...
Back to Top

Copy and paste the following HTML into your website