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Issues Management Essay

6791 words - 27 pages

Issues ManagementImagine, for the moment, the following scenario. You are in the office of a CEO (Chief Executive Officer) of a major company in the early 1950s. You and other members of the company are feeling pretty good about business prospects. The Great Depression is over. That era in American (and international) business demonstrated that unrestrained business activities could lead to food lines, bankruptcies, and family dislocation of epic proportion. Tons of governmental regulation came about to "prevent" that sort of financial catastrophe from recurring. You were engaged in some of those public policy battles whereby business critics achieved new legislation and regulation. Now, however, those business nightmares seem to be ending. And you and your business colleagues have just helped win World War II. The world brought together millions of military personnel, but several countries, none more than the United States, demonstrated that the ability to manufacture war materiel is a crucial factor in the kind of global war experienced in the 1930s and 1940s.Imagine that you are the same (or another) CEO a decade later-the mid-1960s. All of a sudden, you sense that the world is at unrest. What seemed to be so tranquil is becoming turbulent. Antinuclear weaponry protests get visibility. The USSR is growing in power. The Civil Rights Movement is becoming more determined. Labor believes that it should have better living and working conditions. And the war in Vietnam is trying to take shape. We read a series of articles that suggest that pesticides are destroying entire species of birds, including the American symbol, the bald eagle.Imagine yourself now in the mid-1970s. Protests against the war are tearing at the social, economic, and political fabric. Civil rights has made many achievements, but more are demanded. Consumer rights, environmental rights, women's rights-heavens! Industry and government are being attacked from every point and for many reasons. The old rationale for the sociopolitical system and the "traditional" political economy is up for grabs. Antinuclear activists are protesting the construction of nuclear-generating plants to manufacture electricity. International strains are occurring over oil and other mineral resources. There are many demands from all sides for something called corporate responsiveness, or corporate responsibility-and even corporate rectitude. So you call in your public relations team. You ask them to offer advice. They say, we simply have no clue. Perhaps we should issue a series of ads blasting protestors. We might even suggest that they are inspired by the Soviets. Let's paint them as un-American. Let's tell the activists who are protesting the building of nuclear-generating plants that they can "freeze to death in the dark as far as we care." Leave us alone. We are the American free enterprise system that defeated the Great Depression and won World War II.That scenario is more real and telling than you...

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