Academic journal article Southern Journal of Business and Ethics

Techniques for Integrating Legal Considerations with Business Processes

Academic journal article Southern Journal of Business and Ethics

Techniques for Integrating Legal Considerations with Business Processes

Article excerpt

Managers routinely hold viewpoints that marginalize the importance of the legal profession in the corporate setting.1 This outlook reflects a careless disregard for the connection between law and competitive advantage.2 Given that managers will routinely execute a growing number of business decisions in the years ahead requiring an appreciation of legal strategy initiatives,3 organizations will face an escalating need to reexamine and adjust managerial attitudes toward the value of law and the legal department within the corporate setting. Numerous scholars have developed frameworks that will facilitate organizational efforts to obtain competitive advantage from the law by further integrating legal considerations into business decision-making, including the five pathways of legal strategy,4 the manager's legal plan,5 legal astuteness,6 concept-sensitive managerial analysis,7 and the proactive approach to sustainable governance.8 Despite the growth of scholarship highlighting the significance of law to business strategy, there is far less research focused on the identification of techniques for putting the legal signifiance concepts generated by such discussions into practice within the organization.9 As each framework relies on different techniques for emphasizing the importance of legal strategy, there is an absence of common ground for exercising influence, changing behavior, and managing relations between the legal and management spheres within the corporation.10

I.STUDY BACKGROUND

I conducted a 3-round Delphi study to address the general problem concerning the severe limitations placed on the organizational ability to derive strategic value from the law due to the lack of integration between legal strategy and business strategy in the corporate setting. The specific problem that I addressed in this study is that managers hold unreceptive viewpoints toward the strategic value of law within the corporate setting.11 Although in-house general counsel working across business industries in the United States stand in a position to develop techniques for altering unreceptive managerial viewpoints toward the law, a lack of consensus exists among them with regard to techniques that will alter unreceptive managerial viewpoints toward the strategic value of law within the corporate setting.

The purpose of my study was to build this consensus.12 Data collection took place between March 13, 2017, and June 5, 2017. During the first round, I distributed an electronic questionnaire containing 6 broad, open-ended questions to a study panel comprised of in-house general counsel working across business industries in the United States. The second-round questionnaire consisted of theme statements derived from panelists' responses to the first round questionnaire. Panelists rated each statement on the second round questionnaire against 2 separate 5-point Likert scales: desirability and feasibility. Any statement where the collective frequency of panelists' top 2 responses (rating of 4 or 5) was 70% or higher on both the desirability and feasibility scale passed to the third round.13 The third-round questionnaire consisted solely of theme statements carried over from Round 2. In Round 3, panelists rated each remaining statement against 2 other scales: importance and confidence. The statements where the collective frequency of panelists' top 2 responses (rating of 4 or 5) was 70% or higher on both the importance and confidence scales formed a consensus on techniques that will alter unreceptive managerial viewpoints toward the law within the corporate setting.

The final list of 25 theme statements generated by the study panel in Round 3 encompassed the following categories: (a) managerial attitudes toward lawyers and the law; (b) relationships between lawyers and non-lawyer managers; (c) leadership in the legal profession; (d) role and functions of in-house general counsel, and (e) law, legal strategy, and competitive advantage. …

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