A Six Country Survey: Public and Employee Expectations of Business Amid War in Ukraine

Weber Shandwick’s Geopolitical Strategy & Risk Group, in partnership with KRC Research, conducted a public opinion poll in Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and United States, to uncover how the public and employees across six countries expect business leaders to take action amid the war in Ukraine, as well as long-term geopolitical issues.

The survey was conducted among 1,000 adults and employees in each market between March 11-16. Key findings include:

  • 72% of adults among the six countries surveyed (65-80%) believe companies must take a stand when a democracy is threatened. This has implications not only in Ukraine, but beyond.
  • 77% of adults (64-83%) expect businesses to make decisions that protect their home country’s national security.
  • 42% of employees (28-53%) believe their employer has a role to play in ending the Russian invasion in Ukraine.
  • Language matters. Across all six markets surveyed, there is a consistent perspective that what is happening in Ukraine is a “war” and an “invasion,” and it is without justification.
  • Beneath the immediate fears of war, respondents are also concerned with its economic disruptions, citing inflation, rising energy costs, shortages, economic decline, recession, and job losses.

High expectations from the public and employees are pressuring companies to engage in public diplomacy. The role of CEOs and other senior executives to use their voice during times of conflict and societal change has grown in recent years. Many people, including employees, are urging companies to act – from decisions to leave the Russian market to supporting humanitarian relief efforts – and to communicate clearly about their position and values.

For more on the research, read the report here.

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