MBA Research

Trend #11: Volatile and Invasive Political Environment

Business Trend

In our ongoing conversations with the business community, we asked them to identify business trends impacting the workplace. One of the most frequently identified trends: volatile and invasive political environment.

Workplace Implications

Although people joke about being “politically correct,” it has become a defensive strategy used in business. It’s employed to manage the risks posed by the increase in political polarization which makes consensus-reaching more difficult, and by the decline in respect for others’ opinions. In many cases, its use results in strained leader and staff relationships and in more guarded internal and external communications. Business leaders adhere to “political correctness” to avoid the potential for costly lawsuits and damaged reputations.

Polarization has also increased mistrust between business and government leaders. The environmental uncertainty created by delayed decision-making, increased political intervention in business, the fear of nationalization of businesses in various countries, the imposition of tariffs, and more severe fines and penalties for non-compliance are all concerns businesses are grappling with today.

Business leaders are trying to balance government’s and society’s demand for more transparency with a litigious environment that seeks to assign blame. The tensions are worsened by media hype and social media activism.

Classroom Implications

Teachers need to help students develop an understanding of the political process, the political shifts that have occurred over time, and how these shifts impact business both domestically and internationally. They should provide students with opportunities to passionately, but respectfully, discuss politically sensitive topics from differing viewpoints that have been well-researched. Teachers should have students examine issues from both a short-term and long-term perspective to increase students’ ability to think through the consequences of different political agendas. The role of social media in the political process should be integrated into the lessons.