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News Digests

Stay abreast of what’s happening internationally with developments in corporate public affairs. Here is news that you may find useful and interesting:

Hitting your growth targets in AsiaND

Joel Backaler, Bloomburg Businessweek, 27 June 2011

The spotlight for the world economy is on Asia and pressure is building for Western Multinational Companies (MNCs) in this region to make greater sales. However, business isn’t easy in Asia with staff needing to understand the local market and culture to drive sales. Some tips to increase chances include offering local staff unconventional incentives to stay on board such as paying off workers’ cars in China — which is considered a major aspiration. Second, internally publicising key performance indicators to promote healthy competition and offering internal staff training. Lastly, allowing staff to work as a team in problem-solving, reaching sales goals and hiring experts to further staff development in their sales field. For more information see

Study: Negative comments worsen the public’s view of a companyND

Kevin Allen, PR Daily, 22 June 2011

During times of crisis, organisations should respond to negative comments or risk considerable decline in reputation. Researchers at the University of Missouri found that people are most affected by victimised individuals’ comments on organisations rather than from unaffected sources such as news articles. Organisations should make efforts to respond by contacting the user directly, replying to a post, or removing comments from the site. In sum, organisations need to monitor their ‘online presence’ as negative messages posted by individual victims are more likely to lead to boycotts. For more information see,

Indian investors avoid ‘political’ stocksND

James Lamont, Financial Times, 21 June 2011

The recent string of corruption scandals in India have prompted investors to avoid investing in companies with strong political links. Such companies include those that have direct political involvement or that are dependent on a government license. India is one of the most heavily regulated economies in the world, and this trend has a significant impact on the stockmarket. For more information see

Pioneers who beat the oddsND

Sydney Morning Herald, 18 June 2011

There are many good ideas for new products and businesses, but not everyone can convert them into profitable fruition. Deloitte’s Director of innovation Matt McIntyre found several common traits among successful entrepreneurs; passion, persistence, experience, good at networking, sales and marketing — with mentors who complement their skills. While money is not the main driver, it is necessary to implement their ideas. Abigail and Jamie Forsyth, founders of KeepCup saw a need to save the environment from plastic. National Australia Bank put their name to the cup and incorporated the investment into their sustainability program. It’s no longer ‘putting money in and standing back’ McIntyre said, but investors’ involvement can range from consulting, to 100 per cent hands on. For more information see

Four phrases that can undermine a spokesperson’s credibilityND

Michael Sebastian, PR Daily, 15 June 2011

Barbara Gibson, a social media trainer and former chair of the International Association of Business Communicators, discovered that there was a significant difference between being open and honest or being perceived to be. Her informal study of spokespeople revealed that greater use of ‘honesty-related’ verbal crutches such as ‘let's be clear’, ‘to be perfectly honest’, ‘frankly’ and ‘just between you and me’ in fact heighten the level of suspicion of the speaker’s honesty. Psychologist Dr. Susan Fletcher stated these phrases act as cues to attract extra attention, and regardless of the content of what is being communicated, induce suspicion. However, without an official study Gibson’s theory remains unproven. For more information, see

Is charity work a must-have on executive CVs?ND

Natasha Stidder, Financial Times, 15 June 2011

Some companies in the US will not even consider candidates unable to show a record of volunteering. Is Szoneberg, director of volunteering charity CSV says skills in conflict resolution, leadership and negotiation can be gained through volunteering. TimeBank and Reed Executive’s recent survey on 200 leading UK businesses found employees committed to voluntary work developed new skills and 94 per cent of them progressed to receive a promotion or pay rise. With companies more attentive to CSR, voluntary work is part of the corporate strategy, an individually satisfying experience and an inspiration to colleagues. For more information see

A green solution, or the dark side to cleaner coal?ND

Keith Bradsher, The New York Times, 14 June 2011

Silos situated in the northern part of China are scheduled to begin operating in July of this year, with these silos being designed to blend cleaner-burning imported coal with China’s domestic, high-polluting coal. The result of this will be an increase in efficiency, while ensuring that China is a step closer to complying with environmental regulations. The reduction of the cost of blending as a percentage of the overall cost of coal over the past years, make coal blending a very attractive option. Critics worry that coal-blending as an option will replace investment in renewable energy. For more information see

India's inflation rises more than 9 per centND

Sumnina Udas, CNN, June 14 2011

India's inflation climbed to 9.06 per cent in May. India's Ministry of Commerce showed that an increase in inflation was due to an increase in prices of manufactured goods. It is predicted that the Reserve Bank of India will take further steps to increase interest rates, having a negative impact on investors. The Reserve Bank of India is meeting on the 16th and is expected to boost interest rates for the tenth time in 16 months. Although India is growing rapidly, it grew 7.8 per cent from January to March, the slowest pace in five quarters. For more information see

The rise in responsible careers ND

Elaine Moore, The Financial Times, 8 June 2011

The merging of sustainability interests with commercial interests has led to an increase in green jobs. More professionals are now also focusing on becoming green collar workers. Government support for sustainable endeavours is boosting this trend, as is the development of green opportunities within companies through the existence of sustainability teams. For more information see

Bonuses: Targets are linked to pay by early adoptersND

Rod Newing, Financial Times, 7 June 2011

The integration of Corporate Responsibility with core business strategy is being strengthened as companies increasingly link executive bonuses to the achievement of responsible business targets. Companies such as Tesco and Centrica have been early adopters of remuneration systems that incentivise the attainment of sustainable commitments. Organisational values are now more closely in line with community opposition to large bonuses for short-term financial performance, rather than long-term Corporate Social Responsibility targets. For more information, see

More responsible than CSR ND

Christopher J Tipler, Business Spectator, 2 June 2011

Big ideas that transform fundamental rules for business success are rare. However Professor Michael Porter (Harvard) has declared that the new ‘big idea’ is shared value. Rather than containing CSR as reactive governance to the needy, businesses must change their relations with the community, not at something ‘out there’ but an inclusive, strategic system to generate profit. Three ways of creating shared value include re-conceiving products and markets, redefining productivity in the value chain and enabling local cluster development. It’s about becoming what the community wants and what nature companies need to be. For more information see

How Web 2.0 pays off: The growth dividend enjoyed by networked enterprisesND

Jacques Bughin and Michael Chui, McKinsey Quarterly, June 2011

Efforts to incorporate social-Internet technologies, commonly termed Web 2.0, have the potential to produce a growth dividend in the form of increased market share. By embracing inter- and intra- company linkages employees and customers can become part of a powerful social network and broad knowledge base. The adoption of Web 2.0 technologies should be coupled with management innovation to maximise transformational impact, and bring outsiders, such as customers and suppliers, into the company value chain. For more information, see

Innovating on the cheapND

Lance Bettencourt and Scott Bettencourt, Harvard Business Review, June 2011

Investment in innovation is a difficult process, with success rates and short-term return rates being low. However innovation does have the potential to yield considerable success without considerable cost. To do so, managers need to be innovative in their approach to innovation. For example, many managers are fixated with the idea that innovations must be entirely new, and as such overlook previous discoveries that may carry market potential at a later time. Bundling products to sell together is another form of innovation, as is unbundling items that were previously sold together. For more information see

Organisational Health: The ultimate competitive advantageND

Scott Keller and Colin Price, Mckinsey Quarterly, June 2011

Organisations focus too much on financial performance and too little on Organisational Health (OH). OH is about building the capacity to learn and keep changing over time, faster and better than competition for exceptional performance. OH must be tailored to each company, considering its own history, external environment, aspirations, the passions and capabilities of its people. There are five common frames for organisation-wide change that deliver performance and health: aspire, assess, architecture, act and advance. These specifically include the development of a clear vision, assessing goal-feasibility, reviewing existing capabilities - just to name a few. A symptom of lasting, healthy change is when employees rethink their daily routine work life, to change for the better. For more information see

Why good companies create bad regulatory strategies ND

Andre Dua, Robin Nuttal and Jon Wilkins, McKinsey Quarterly, June 2011

Companies increasingly recognise the importance of government and regulators as stakeholders, and the impact that they have on corporate performance. However efforts to improve engagement with regulators often fall short due to a disconnect between internal and external perceptions. Challenges in shaping regulatory strategies include excessive optimism and a failure to consider issues from the perspective of policymakers. To address this, companies need to consider designing innovative methods to counter entrenched beliefs and ensuring managers are tracking and responding to emerging regulatory issues. For more information see

India’s decade of collaboration ND

Navi Radjou, Bloomberg Businessweek, 31 May 2011

Biocon is setting an example of Indian companies embracing Polycentric Innovation Models (PIM). PIM are collaborative global innovation networks aiming to translate intellectual property into commercial value. PIM comprises of inventors, transformers, financiers and connectors. Biocon has partnered with Pfizer to commercialise its insulin biosimilar products in non-overlapping markets and sources drug molecules from the Cuba-based Center of Molecular Immunology. The Indian government is encouraged to support such PIMs through trans-nationalising The National Innovation Council, setting up ‘connector’ hubs and utilising The Indian Ministry of External Affairs to initiate ‘innovation scouts’ in innovation hotbeds such as Taiwan. For more information see

Near, but so far away, PNG deserves attentionND

Richard Marles, Australian Financial Review, 27 May 2011

PNG is in the wake of rapid growth and change. It’s facing a greater mining boom, its economy is growing as fast as China’s and its population is projected to increase to 20 million by 2050. PNG provides us with 90% of Pacific Islands’ exports and our total annual trade is worth about $5 billion. Its political landscape will also change with the 2012 elections, bringing new leaders with new decisions. Australia’s relations with PNG are mainly focussed on military ties and there is opportunity to go beyond that. For more information see

RI aims to be ASEAN production centerND

Linda Yulisman, The Jakarta Post, 27 May 2011

The rattan-based furniture industry in South East Asia is set for a boost under plans from the ASEAN Furniture Industries Council (AFIC). AFIC hopes the move will strengthen the industry and restore competitiveness following poor export figures due to appearance of synthetic rattan. While Indonesia is by far the largest producer of rattan — contributing between 75 and 80 percent of world production — other ASEAN members hope to harness comparative advantages in areas such as design to enhance cooperation and joint ventures in natural-rattan products throughout the region. For more information see

The cosmopolitan corporationND

Pankaj Ghemawat, Harvard Business Review, 27 May 2011

The stateless company does not exist as the vast majority of corporates are deeply rooted in their home countries. Even those with foreign operations often maintain their comfort zones and invest in countries of similar cultures and languages. For those companies seeking to invest overseas it is important to consider the cultural, political, and economic impact of its investments and also understand their rooted distinctiveness. Conceptual frameworks such as CAGE (culture, administration/politics, geography, and economics) should be used to analyse foreign countries for investment. Employees also need to be immersed in the aspects of business in different regions. Also, intercultural networking should take place to soften ethnocentrism. For more information see

What the West doesn’t get about ChinaND

George Stalk & David Michael, Harvard Business Review, 27 May 2011

China is making impressive progress at stimulating domestic consumption as millions of its citizens achieve a recognizably middle-class lifestyle. Domestic demand is growing and unless overseas companies penetrate the increasingly affluent cities beyond the coastal fringe, domestic Chinese companies will come to dominate those markets. Multinational companies risk underestimating how quickly the Chinese market is developing, and how little time remains to establish a competitive foothold. The main challenge for companies is executing business strategies in a geographical landscape far larger than any home market within varying cultural contexts. For more information see

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