Press Releases

  • CEO Forum on stakeholder expectations

    2 February 2005

    The corporate sector is operating under conditions that are changing, very often at breathtaking pace. Not only is this true of the Indian scene where factors such as the effects of globalization, a growing role for corporate activities and healthy rates of aggregate economic growth have brought into existence some new challenges. But, in actual fact, corporate governance in other parts of the world is also undergoing major changes, driven by a number of complex factors. Some of these find expression through signals provided by the stockmarket, but several others are manifested in a more direct relationship between the stakeholders themselves and corporate decision-makers.

    If we are to explore the changing expectations of stakeholders as they relate to corporate decision-making we first have to come to grips with changes in the identity of stakeholders themselves. A quarter century ago, there was hardly any mention in corporate boardrooms of what the impact of specific postures and actions in the business world would be on the NGO community. Today this has changed substantially. Almost every board meeting in a business organization would now need to look at some aspect of every decision in terms of its effect on the perceptions and response of civil society. Quite invisibly, therefore, there is a seat in the boardroom now occupied by this new stakeholder called civil society and its progeny called public opinion, whose voice has to be anticipated and taken into account. But, perhaps the most challenging and complex assessment of stakeholder issues, which is now assuming a role, having been concealed and suppressed in the past, is the potential market that is represented by the billion plus poor people in the world. Media's role as an important stakeholder hardly needs to be emphasized.