GFC Creates Increased Public Expectations of Business's Role in Society - McKinsey Report
12 November 2009 at 2:04 pm
The survey found that most companies have maintained or increased their efforts to address socio-political issues, and many have already derived better-than-expected benefits from doing so.
Despite the global economic downturn, a greater proportion of executives than last year say large corporations make a positive contribution to the public good, according to the fourth annual McKinsey survey on the role of business in society.
Although a smaller share of executives than in 2007 say large corporations make a positive contribution to the public good (59 percent this year versus 67 percent in 2007), executives think the crisis has increased the public’s expectations of business’s role in society. In response, companies are maintaining or increasing their engagement in social and political issues. As a result, most say they are already reaping business benefits that far exceed a reputational boost.
For the fourth consecutive year, executives answered questions on which social and political issues will gain public prominence and which will have the greatest impact on shareholder value.
This year, the survey also explored the impact of the financial crisis on companies’ socio-political agendas and the financial benefits companies have gained from addressing a variety of social and political issues.
Executives think the environment still commands the most public attention, but, as a result of the crisis, they expect executive compensation and companies’ political influence and involvement to gain prominence.
Nonetheless, the crisis has not changed their own long-term views on which issues will affect shareholder value the most: the environment (including climate change), companies’ political influence, health care and other employee benefits, executive compensation, and privacy and data security.
Besides the business opportunities that result from addressing social and political issues, the survey says the crisis has intensified traditional reasons to engage, such as meeting public expectations. Some 72 percent of executives say the public’s expectations of business have increased as a result of the crisis. Most report that their companies have maintained or increased engagement in social and political issues as a result of the financial crisis and the accompanying pressure from government and other stakeholders.
The online survey took place in September 2009 and generated responses from 1,179 executives representing all regions, industries, functional specialties, and levels of seniority.
To download the report go to https://www.mckinseyquarterly.com/Tackling_sociopolitical_issues_in_hard_times_McKinsey_Global_Survey_results_2461