But what does modern-day management look like, and how are business leaders confronting some of their thorniest challenges? This week, DealBook delved into some of the toughest dilemmas facing businesses and how C.E.O.s are navigating them:
How should business engage with governments in an age of rising populism and tense geopolitics? The narrative of the post-Cold War world was economic integration, international supply chains and deepening trade ties. China’s economic development underpinned global growth for decades and was fundamental in helping the west recover after the 2008 financial crisis.
Now, tensions between Washington and Beijing are putting companies in a bind. The pressure to decouple is growing and bipartisan. But it has come after many businesses spent decades trying to get the most out of China as a manufacturing center as well as a huge market. Last year, bilateral trade hit a record $690 billion— a sign that not everyone is ready to flee the world’s second-largest economy to please the political masters in the biggest one.
Closer to home, executives are under intense scrutiny for the positions and commercial decisions they take on hot-button political issues, ranging from access to abortion to transgender rights. In a country as divided and vast as the U.S., that means a surefire money spinner in one market or state may be a political and reputational nightmare in another.
All of this suggests it has never been more important to make the case for business to policymakers, but C.E.O.s who speak out publicly should expect to be clobbered, Matthew Gwyther writes.
Is there a way to navigate the climate crisis without becoming a political target? The fight over companies’ approach to the environment has run straight into a political culture war. Shareholders, policymakers and commercial imperatives are pushing companies to put sustainability at the heart of their operations. But some powerful officials, such as the Republican governors in Florida and Texas, are bashing companies that pursue such policies and are winning political points by doing so. Some companies have found that saying less is best, Michael Skapinker reports.