Changing Environment for Business

The first chapter of the book “Corporate Communication” written by Paul A. Argenti relates the place hold by communication in context of the Business major change.

Attitudes toward American business through the years

Business has never had a completely positive image for different reasons. During the 1860s, the bad working conditions (for example during the transcontinental rail systems building) and the effect of the following industrial revolution on women and children miserable conditions cause this image. Then, the burst of the stock market bubble that creates the Great Depression got worse the situation.

Fortunately, the golden age between 1940 and the beginning of the 1970s had good consequences on Business popular feelings.

However, the 1970s incidences such as Watergate, Vietnam War or Oil Embargo turned the American attitudes toward business. Up to today the image of business never turned really positive again, even though the 80s and 90s constituted the final economic boom of the 20th century. Moreover, the stock market crash in 2000 and several scandals such as the famous Enron in 2002 create a important lack of confidence in big companies. Finally, today, the growing gap pay between senior company executive and ordinary workers (with an average of 411 times more) could also explain this image.

Hollywood: A window on Main Street and Wall Street

The negative image of business today may also result from be the negative portrait of businessman in TV-shows and Hollywood films. Indeed, in two-thirds of the TV shows business people are portrayed negatively. And TV held a more and more important place in life because, according to a research, American people spend 40 to 50 hours per week in front of a TV (more than they spend time in a classroom).

Films also contribute to negative Business image. Movie such as Wall Street or Erin Brockovich dramatized the bad example of real life that TV news present.

Global Village

Today’s globalization could be illustrated by this data: on the 100 world economies, there are more companies (51) than countries). Last years, improvements in technology let the world become a “Global Village”, especially the Internet helped to virtually “eliminate” national borders and time frames, coupled with liberalization of trade and finance. To remain competitive, company could not avoid operating in countries with fragile economies, weak democratic systems and overburdened infrastructures neither save jobs in traditional economies (according to a Goldman Sachs study estimated that 300,000 to 500,000 jobs were lost between 2001 and 2003 to go overseas and that as 6 millions jobs could move overseas by 2013).

However, this trend has more and more opponents and companies have to face the anti-globalization movement. People joining this movement believe for example that globalization will destroy individual national cultures and national workstations. In addition they protest against exploitation of poorer countries (e.g. child labor).

Finally, business Leader today must prepared not only to handle the international media spotlight but also negative news about them from reaching individuals virtually with Internet

How to compete in a changing environment

Attacks against Gillette because of testing on animal, against Nike for children working or against Fast Food with Super Size Me


  1. Recognize changing Environment: Managers need to be aware of the changing environment, which is sometimes just not the case because of short-term orientation.
  2. Adapt to the environment without compromising principles: Customers will recognize this change and will switch to products of another company if they disagree with the change.
  3. Do not assume problems will magically disappear: Most managers think that Am public has a short memory about problems companies gets into. Boycotts of companies such as Coors, Wall Mart, Nike, Shell and Texaco are proofs of the contrary.
  4. Keep corporate communication connected to strategy


The constantly and fast changing business environment demands for strategically communication. To have success in 21st century someone has to pay attention to the way he communicates for example behavior, changes and future plans of the company.


” I have a professional experience that I could certainly never do anymore because of changes in business and the globalization. Two years ago, I worked as a Back Office member of a French Private Banking in Luxembourg.

During this internship, I had to support the trading and selling activities (recordkeeping, trade confirmation, trade settlement…) on Futures, Currency Option and Structured Products. Working in a small entity in this little country, I was lucky that the Information System of the company was not so advanced. Indeed, I had to perform some “manual” works that allow me to best understand and dissect these complicated products that I did not know well before. For example, if I had worked for the same group but in Paris for the Investment Banking, I would only have to push one button to realize my operation. Thus, the low level of the IT system development offered to me a more interesting mission that do not exist anymore. 

Moreover, during this experience, I had to contact regularly Back Office of counterparts in order to “reconcile” the results. This part of my job was my first working experience of globalization. Indeed, some Back Office of European banks was in India. And I remember this experience when my poor English fully disappeared as soon as an Indian accent answer me whereas I was calling an Dutch bank. Today, this trend is growing and back offices are loosing lots of jobs in developed countries. That’s why I think also that I could certainly never do it anymore.

During this internship, I have really experienced what the term of globalization means. When I think to the business model of the bank, it is unbelievable. The traditional operation could be the following. A private client of Dubai call a French sales who worked in Luxembourg to buy a product indexed on Brent Oil in London or NYC or on Japanese Index Nikkei for example. Then, to cover his position, the sales buy the same product to a Dutch Bank. And finally, I call the Back Office of the Dutch Bank in India to confirm this operation. I think that a good example of changing environment in business. Each stakeholder takes profit of this evolution except my company that maintain a back office in Luxembourg. But it will not last for a long time”  

See this AntiGlobalization French Rap Video (English Subtitle)


Published in: on June 18, 2008 at 6:08 pm  Leave a Comment