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About the course

There is more recorded evidence about business conduct in the public domain than ever before. An increase in symbolic competition on top of pure economic competition has forced organisations to keep an eye on how society views them. For many organisations, achieving their objectives therefore is as dependent on their nonmarket policies as it is on making sound business decisions in a competitive context. Nonmarket policies help organisations to pursue their strategic goals through political, social and cultural leverage. This 3-day Master Class introduces you to two closely related disciplines: issues management and public affairs.

Issues Management

The term ‘issues management’ refers simultaneously to a perspective on the business-society interface and to a set of concrete management tools. As a perspective, issues management stresses that firms’ long-term societal license to operate critically depends on the way in which it manages the areas of societal contention in which it is drawn due to its business model and strategy implementation. Issues management is by definition a multidisciplinary perspective, as issues tend to impact numerous stakeholders simultaneously, and cannot be managed unless all corporate disciplines cooperate in coordinated fashion. As a set of tools, issues management involves:

  • (a) tools for environmental scanning and tracing nascent issues;
  • (b) tools for positioning the corporation’s vis-à-vis issues, stakeholders, and their interests;
  • (c) tools for managing issues, such as communication strategies and platform building.

Public Affairs

The term ‘public affairs’ refers to departments and routines corporations use to integrate their market and nonmarket environmental management techniques, with a particular emphasis on influencing the public policy process. Within modern companies, public affairs departments are the ones dealing with the political and regulatory issues firms might be confronted with in the context of their business operations. As these policies create both threats and opportunities for firms, it is critical to incorporate this ‘nonmarket’ component into firms’ market strategy.

Core objective

The core objective of this Master Class is to stimulate your learning about these two closely related disciplines. The instructors will share practical insights about countering and responding to societal issues, as well as navigating the public policy process. Adding to that, a mixture of case studies and interactive discussions will help you gain a working knowledge of issues management and public affairs.

Who should attend

This three-day programme is open for professionals with an interest in:

  • Corporate communication
  • Reputation management
  • Corporate affairs
  • Media relations
  • PR

It is recommended to have 3 or more years of work experience.

Trust the experts

Jean-Philippe Bonardi

Jean-Philippe Bonardi is Full Professor and currently the Dean of HEC Lausanne (the faculty of Business and Economics of the University of Lausanne, in Switzerland). He earned his PhD and a Master from HEC School of Management (Paris, France), as well as a Master in Economics from the University ...


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