Companies Address Top Stakeholders Least Effectively, Survey Shows

Compiled By Jill Jusko Senior executives in U.S. and European multinational corporations say their most important stakeholders -- their customers and employees -- are not having their information needs addressed as well as less important constituencies, a new survey reveals. According to the quarterly PricewaterhouseCoopers Management Barometer, both customers and employees are identified as the groups most important to their companies' business strategy, yet shareholders are the group most likely to have their information needs fully addressed. "In today's turbulent markets, corporate executives are providing more information to investors and the analysts who influence investment decisions, in hopes of gaining a competitive advantage," says Robert G. Eccles, senior fellow for the global professional services firm. "However, it is a big mistake to think that the information needs of customers and employees can be ignored." Interestingly, while firms on both sides of the Atlantic say they have taken steps, or will take steps, to increase transparency in their organizations, shareholders and analysts remain the primary targets of their increased information. For example, while 41% of U.S. firms and 36% of European firms say they will increase transparency to their shareholders, those percentages drop to 31% and 21%, respectively, with regard to increasing transparency to their employees, and 18% and 25% with regard to their customers. Some 153 CFOs and managing directors in the U.S., and 98 in Europe, were interviewed in the second quarter for this report.

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