US CEOs show rising interest in public policy

A survey conducted by The McKinsey Quarterly last December found that 44 per cent of respondents (721 US executives, of which 400 hold C-level positions) believed that they and their peers should play a leadership role in policy areas such as education, healthcare and foreign policy.

by McKinsey Quarterly Online

Whilst it is critical for companies to be involved in debating issues such as these that might have an impact on regulatory environments, corporate reputation and access to markets, some 64% of respondents who say they take a leadership role in this area also say they are motivated to do so for personal reasons.

The same set of respondents believed that having a strong network of peers with an interest in public issues and a comprehensive set of facts about, and an understanding of, public issues are the two top factors that help them fulfil their leadership ambitions in this area.

Lack of time was a major barrier for 71% of those who want to take a leadership role in public issues. For the respondents who play no role or less of one, a significant barrier was fear of negative publicity for themselves and their company.

The majority of respondents said that the health of the US economy had the greatest effect (positive or negative) on shareholder value, followed by financial regulations. The top two factors which are most important to them personally were the health of the US economy and the US healthcare system.

Some 38 per cent also said that the issue of education in the US was important to them from a personal point of view, making this the third most important factor.

The MckinseyQuarterly Online, 31 January 2007
Review by Morice Mendoza

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