Leading Companies Turn to Trade Associations for Lobbying

Article excerpt

A recent survey showed that a sampling of FORTUNE 100 companies are widely engaged in organizing and supervising coalition building, which usually involves lobbying activities. These companies tend to rely heavily upon trade associations and consultants to conduct coalition activities. Executives at the companies responding to the survey also predicted that coalition-building activity would increase in the next five to ten years. These were among the major findings of The Pires Report on Coalition Activity Among the FORTUNE 100, a 50-page publication commissioned by The Pires Group, Inc., in Ardsley, NY, and issued this past spring.

The report is based on data collected by William J. Sauer, Ph.D., and James D.Sodt, Ph.D., of Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, PA, from 30 corporations. Respondents were involved in an average of 5.7 coalitions. The majority of these were formed for legislative and regulatory purposes and focused primarily on national issues, such as health care reform, legal/tax reform and the environment.

"This research bears out our client experience that coalitions are used both proactively and reactively by business," said Pires, whose firm specializes in alliance building and coalitions. "It clearly reflects a widespread acceptance of coalitions ... on the part of America's largest companies [but]... raises some questions about the depth of individual company involvement in these alliances... The companies surveyed currently prefer to work within the context of their own intra-industry associations, both to avoid perceived risk and to husband internal resources," she noted.

More than one-third of the respondent companies reported spending over $1 million per year on coalition activity, the research showed. This level is modest, since FORTUNE 100 companies have annual sales of $5 billion or more. The majority of respondents saw coalition building as requiring much more effort over the next five to ten years, but only half predicted that their spending on coalition resources would increase. …