Foundations of a Political Strategy for Business

by Gerald Keim



This article describes a conceptual framework for planning corporate political efforts. The view of the public policy process employed here is rather different from the conventional public interest notion of government. Thus a brief discussion of the public policy process based on advances in an area known as the economics of politics will precede suggestions for making business a more effective participant in public policy decision-making. Each organization's political objectives, constraints, and resources are different. Successful corporate political efforts will require a thorough integration of political considerations in all corporate planning. Potential political problems and opportunities must be anticipated, and an informed, motivated constituency must be developed. Direct contact with politicians and their staffs must be maintained by corporate leaders and buttressed with communication from shareholders, employees, and other constituents whenever possible. Political education efforts, and lobbying are vehicles that may be part of an effective corporate political strategy. A successful political strategy will encourage policymakers to be more responsive to the interests of business and the large natural constituency of business.

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