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Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.Albert Einstein

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Corporate Diplomacy

Corporate Diplomacy

How to optimize your relations with NGOs to minimize the risk of coming under attack?

Author(s): Ulrich Steger

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons

Date of publication: 2003

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Based on the observation of many companies vilified by NGOs, this book offers a pragmatic approach to appreciating this risk more effectively. Without pleading the case for sustainable development, nor cynically attempting to find ways around this new demand, this book offers company managers and executives a set of tools to optimize the management of this risk.
– Those in a hurry are advised to start with the first chapter, which offers an excellent summary of the key messages in the book. From there, readers may pick and choose among the various chapters depending on their respective centers of interest.
– To understand why companies find it so difficult to manage relations with NGOs, go straight to the beginning of chapter 4, which explains the common mistakes committed by businesses, supported with the detailed example of Monsanto.
– The ability to anticipate risk is the key to successful crisis management. In chapter 4, the author proposes many practical tools, such as detailed checklists to evaluate the potential impact of a problem, both from the perspective of the company and an NGO. He also emphasizes the need to establish an early awareness system, including an example provided in chapter 9, with the case of DaimlerChrysler.
– We also recommend chapter 8, which uses numerous examples to focus on the need to develop business-NGO cooperation. The detailed case of Shell covered in chapter 9 also illustrates this point particularly well. The author realistically highlights the fact that such partnerships do not totally eliminate the possibility of conflict, but provides helpful advice on how to make them work as well as possible.
– One of the author’s recurrent themes is that a sustainable development policy must rely on a solid business case to be successful. Without providing concrete instructions, the author explains the basic principles in the beginning of chapter 6, and provides an illustration in chapter 9 with the case of ABB.
- In chapter 6 and 7 can also be found several relevant tips on good communication practices, both preventatively and in times of crisis.
– Chapters 2 and 3 basically set the stage, by presenting the social and economic trends that lead to the emergence of activism. These chapters are not indispensable, although they are useful in developing one’s general knowledge.