International Business-Government Communications: U.S. Structures, Actors, and Issues

By Jack N. Behrman; J. J. Boddewyn et al. | Go to book overview

5 Actors in the Influence Process

Once companies have information relevant to governmental policies, decisions are taken as to whether and how to use it in affecting those policies. The actors in the process of using information are sometimes the same as those gathering or supplying it, but often different. This chapter provides illustrations of the actors involved and the dialogues undertaken.1


Channels

The IC has access to different groups that can be used to influence the host government. Each group has its particular strengths and limitations, and the extent to which any one group is used depends upon the nature of the situation, the characteristics of the host government, and the orientation of the decision makers involved. In general, the groups that could be used by the IC to influence the host government include the U.S. government, particularly the embassy, various levels of the host government (central, state, and municipal), chambers of commerce and associations, individuals at different levels of the IC (parent, regional, local partner), plus a variety of other groups and influential individuals.2

New associations and groupings of countries are beginning to develop and will serve as a channel of influence to and from a government. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has demonstrated its power by negotiating as a group with the major industrial/military powers of the world. Other raw-material-producing countries are likely to move in a similar direction to form groups. Regional groups such as the Andean Common market are negotiating on a group basis with large ICs and their governments, and such groupings are likely to spread before long to Asia and eventually to Africa.3

A strong and growing anxiety about large ICs, regardless of their country of origin, pervades almost all developing and several developed countries. This anxiety is beginning to find expression in the form of study groups (such as the United Nations group), which become channels of influence particularly on the developing countries.

In brief, increasingly in the future, the ICs' process of influencing host and home governments will include the types of industry, commodity, regional, and common-cause-oriented groups, which will gain in numbers and importance in the future.

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