Home country as a key stakeholder for global businesses

COVID-19 super-charged conversations among corporate leaders about the role of business in the world. As businesses rethink, reevaluate and reassess their role in a post-COVID world and heightened geopolitical competition, how they communicate their value and values to all relevant stakeholders is paramount.

By Michelle Giuda

Weber Shandwick’s Geopolitical Strategy & Risk Group uncovered a powerful new dimension to the role of a global business in our report, Home Country as Stakeholder: The Rising Geopolitical Risk for Business Leaders. In partnership with KRC Research, we surveyed executives’ perceptions of the relationship between a multinational business and its home country across 12 countries in Asia, Europe, and the Americas. Among the findings, we reveal:

  • Nearly six in 10 multinational business executives (58%) say their company’s home country is a “very” important stakeholder to their business, second only to customers (63%) and equivalent to shareholders
  • 56% of executives rate national security as “very” important to their companies’ business decisions, surpassing diversity and inclusion, the protection of human rights, ESG, and climate change as important decision-making factors with 50% or fewer of all executives citing each of these as “very” important.
  • 87% of executives agree — and 44% “strongly” agree — their companies should be prepared to take a more public position on geopolitical issues over the next five years.

Our study demonstrates that home country is no longer an unspoken stakeholder. As corporate leaders reset their strategies for a new geopolitical and post-COVID era, they are considering how they deliver and communicate value to their home country stakeholder. Executives are saying corporate responsibility includes national responsibility, and leaders must now plan accordingly.

Michelle Giuda

Author

Executive VP of Geopolitical Strategy & Risk, Weber Shandwick. Former Assistant Secretary of State for Global Public Affairs, U.S. Dept. of State.

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