Shapeholders: Business Success in the Age of Activism

Shapeholders: Business Success in the Age of Activism

by Mark Kennedy


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Today, all it takes is one organizational misstep to sink a company's reputation. Social media can be a strict ethical enforcer, with the power to convince thousands to boycott products and services. Executives are stuck on appeasing stakeholders—shareholders, employees, and consumers—but they ignore shapeholders, regulators, the media, and social and political activists who have no stake in a company but will work hard to curb what they see as bad business practices. And they do so at their own peril.

In Shapeholders: Business Success in the Age of Activism, former congressman, Fortune 500 executive, and university president Mark Kennedy argues that shapeholders, as much as stakeholders, have significant power to determine a company's risks and opportunities, if not its survival. Many international, multi-billion-dollar corporations fail to anticipate activism, and they flounder on first contact. Kennedy zeroes in on the different languages that shapeholders and companies speak and their contrasting metrics for what constitutes acceptable business practice. Executives, he argues, must be visionaries who find profitable—and probable—collaborations to diffuse political tensions. Kennedy's decision matrix helps corporations align their business practices with shapeholder interests, anticipate their demands, and assess changing moral standards so that together they can plan a profitable route forward.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780231180566
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication date: 05/09/2017
Series: Columbia Business School Publishing
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Mark R. Kennedy is president of the University of North Dakota, founder of the Economic Club of Minnesota, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He has served as treasurer of Macy's, a U.S. congressional representative, a presidential trade advisor under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, and director of George Washington University's Graduate School of Political Management.

Table of Contents

Introduction: From the Heart of a Businessman
Who Are the Shapeholders?
1. Shapeholders
2. Social Activists
3. The Media
4. Politicians
5. Regulators
Seven Steps to Shapeholder Success
6. Align with a Purpose
7. Anticipate
8. Assess
9. Avert
10. Acquiesce
11. Advance Common Interests
12. Assemble to Win
13. Pope Francis, a CEO Worth Emulating

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