Lobbying represents a dilemma for most organisations. On the one hand, organisations should seek to influence government departments or regulators whose actions affect them. On the other, any lobbying-like communications appear suspicious to the media and ultimately the general public. This suspicion makes government nervous over business involvement with government decision-making which then makes organisations nervous about engaging with government. Gradually, a vicious circle develops where a legitimate corporate activity looks illegitimate. How can organisations negotiate a path through what is either a dangerous threat to organisational reputation if they do lobby, or organisational performance if they do not? Also, what is the role of the communications director in this discussion?
Paul Baines is professor of political marketing at Cranfield School of Management, UK. He has worked on various communication research projects for UK government departments, and operates his own strategic marketing and market research consultancy, Baines Associates Limited.