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Now more than ever, the management of the relations with interest groups is becoming increasingly important. Managing all these interest groups should be placed as a totally essential element in the framework of the development of a Social Responsibility (SR) strategy of any organization. Making them feel included will most surely provide with legitimacy and better image to the company, generating more credibility and becoming more trustworthy. Businesses seeking sustainability in their activities should know them, strengthen the dialogue, meet their demands and expectations, and be as transparent as they can in the accountability of their actions. In this paper I will be discussing what kind of role do interest groups hold in the process of policy making, firstly it will look into the importance of interest groups inside of the framework of the Social Responsibility, then we will identify who are affected by those interest groups and lastly how can we establish a respectful relationship with them.
Why are important the interest groups for the social responsibility?
The accurate identification of the expectations and demands of the interest groups, as well as their integration into the company’s strategy, is one of the most useful tools for the success of a socially responsible positioning. Within this framework, Social Responsibility can be considered to be born as the response that organizations offer to the various challenges posed by sustainability. Understanding sustainability not only from an economic point of view (economic viability of the organization), but also social and environmental. Now, when an organization is committed to acting in a socially responsible manner, it implies, according to current trends, to voluntarily integrate the concerns of its groups of interest in its economic and commercial operations, this is the most important link between SR and management with interest groups. The SR cannot exist if the relevant queries from interest groups are not given a prominent role in developing the activity of the organization or designing it or implementing its business model. The management of interest groups from a non-SR perspective would not make sense, since none will impact on the groups to which it is directed or on the activity of the organization.
That is why the concept of interest groups management is based precisely in the methodology or actions that the organization develops for the integration of these concerns in its economic-commercial operations. Now, as commented by Phillips and Freeman, the relationship process with the interest groups is also an essential part of the strategic intelligence processes of an organization, since it is a permanent source of information with which can be used to guide the organization future’s strategy, ‘reinforcing the effectiveness of a company’s actions’. That is why a large part of the organizational efforts to integrate SR into the company’s strategy are aimed at creating a useful model that allows the organization to effectively integrate the relationship with its interest groups in the lines SR strategies, which allows them to be provided with both, external and internal legitimacy, as well as targeting specific needs, so as to minimize the risks of failure.
Who turns out affected?
It is considered that interest groups or lobbies are ‘pressing for social change’ and ‘the common good’ and also, they mention they are ‘lobbying for people’ but who exactly are they affecting in society?
They are the politicians, that act as mediators between the State and society, who will make the first selection of the problems that must enter the public agenda, the media will also be affected and that will present the news in the press, radio and television and exert pressure for the authorities to act on the problem, the citizens who would mobilize to include a topic on the public agenda (with strikes, marches and/or taking of institutions) in the face of the crisis of representation and the mediation model and it is also the public authorities (government) that decide to act on an issue that they analyse as problematic who will be detecting and designing prevention or mitigation strategies.
How can we establish a respectful relationship with them?
We can to this by promoting ethical, transparent, constructive and respectful human rights relationships, trying to generate communication channels that provide information and ensure dialogue spaces. As well as, strengthening relationships based on trust and legitimacy, foster greater involvement to create opportunities for dialogue between us and one or more of its interest groups, with the aim of providing a well-founded basis for the organization’s decisions. And supply with timely information of public interest, contributing to sustainable development and well-being.
Keeping a good relationship will be healthy for any kind of organization because that will generate a good propaganda, adding credibility and trustworthiness to the company.
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