Business has a image problem

Crisis in trust

Based on a survey of 28 countries and 16,000 people (2017 Trust Barometer), the general populous has lost confidence and increased distrust in many institutions like government, business, non-government, media, courts, etc.. This is shown by the increase in populism movements in USA and Europe, eg with BREXIT win and election of US President Donald Trump (2016). Much of this is linked with the impact of globalisation and technology, and resultant job losses.

"...automation may mean innovation to business, but to the public it can translate to job losses and communities in decline, which exacerbates the disconnect......globalisation has become a byword for job losses..."

Steven Spur (CEO, Edelman Australia) as quoted by Joanna Gray 2017

"...in many areas of society, the notion that the "system" or social organisation may not be delivering for the wider community as a basis in fact..."

Peter Chan as quoted by Joanna Gray 2017

The default position is now distrust.

At the same time there is a demand and expectation that business will play a role in discussing and supporting issues that impact on society; the public has a greater faith in business than government to solve social problems (Joanne Gray, 2017a)

The ways firms need to build trust is "first do no harm" by stopping

- moving profits to tax havens

- overpaying senior executives

- moving jobs offshore

- paying bribes to officials

- overcharging for essential items

Firms can then build trust by

- treating staff well

- paying fair share of taxes

- having ethical business practices

- listening to customers feedback

- placing customers ahead of profit

- being a good corporate citizen, eg stand for something more than profit-making by improving conditions in the community that they operate in (see shared value approach)

NB Generally people trust individuals more than organisations. Thus

"...so make sure that those who represent you aren't one-dimensional corporate spokespeople, bring their personal experiences and expertise to the fore..."

Joanne Gray, 2017a

"...Business needs to work harder to connect to people and to be very clear about their purpose is a business. Do that they need to have a well understood sense of purpose and a very transparent about how they contribute positively to the economy and society..."

Brian Benari ( CEO Challenger) as quoted by Tony Boyd et al 2016

"...business leaders should be more confident to express pro capitalistic sentiments and is a bulwark against anti-business rhetoric which misunderstood is the engine that creates jobs secures middle-class incomes and business..."

Mike Kane (CEO Boral) as quoted by Tony Boyd et al 2016

"...The Chinese government has an extensive agenda of reform to rebalance China's economy in transition from investment to consumption-led growth. they have also set bold national goals for trade corridors, climate change action and innovation and technology to further grow..."

Andrew McKenzie (CEO BHP Billiton) as quoted by Tony Boyd et al 2016

"...politics of division, short termism and sectarian interest...... to be what we must fix..."

Richard White (CEO WiseTech Global) as quoted by Tony Boyd et al 2016

In 2018, some examples of businesses creating the wrong image, eg

- Facebook, with its Cambridge Analytica saga, ie personal data from tens of millions of Facebook users are sold by Facebook without the user's permission

- the Royal Commission into the Australian financial institutions has identified many malpractices

 

 

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