In this recent article published in MIT Sloan Management Review, Andrew Winston, Elizabeth Doty, and Thomas Lyon explore how corporate leaders can navigate new questions and new pressures around corporate political influence, as well as begin the work toward corporate political responsibility.
“Companies that strive for accountability are struggling with increasingly complex trade-offs as they confront the realities of the current U.S. political system and the hypocrisy traps it creates,” the authors suggest.
However, the authors say, through recognizing these challenges, leaders are beginning to envision a way out. Through their engagements with decision makers on these challenges, the authors have found many leaders are convinced of the need to “go beyond transparency and accountability to focus on corporate political responsibility, or CPR.”
Taking a CPR approach, companies shift from chasing individual issues to considering their influence on larger systems, such as healthy market rules of the game and strong civic institutions to healthy civil discourse. Fortunately, this is also the path to unlocking the great economic opportunities of our time and creating a level playing field for Net Positive businesses that thrive by helping people prosper.
To do this effectively, companies need a set of “broad principles and guidelines to navigate these tricky political waters and exercise more consistency and responsibility in their influence.” This is what the CPR framework offers: a roadmap that helps business leaders step up as civic partners in good faith, supporting civil society in building a world that works for everyone.