April 2014

Date Archive

Robert Boutilier 2007 colorIt is tempting to dismiss stakeholder groups that complain about your organisation as representing the fringe of public opinion. Often the majority disagrees with them, and sometimes public opinion polls even prove it. The problem with ignoring such groups is the risk that they will become public opinion leaders.

For example, research by the Pew Research Center in Washington DC shows a complete turn-around in public opinion on the question of gay marriage. In 2003, a third of Americans were in favour of it and 58 percent were against. By 2013, half supported it and only 44% opposed it.

The reversal in public opinion followed a classic path that sociologists call the “issues lifecycle”.

[Originally pubilshed on Crane and Matten blog]

The idea of “Creating Shared Value” (CSV) popularized by Michael Porter and Mark Kramer in the Harvard Business Review has probably done more to get corporate responsibility issues into the boardroom than anything else written in the last few years. In many respects, that is a good thing. Or at least it is until you start to realize all the big problems that are hidden behind the big ideas of CSV.

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