Some portion of the American public will react negatively to almost
any new corporate initiative, as Disney discovered when it
announced its plans to build an historical theme park in Virginia.
Similarly, government efforts to change policy or shift budget
priorities are invariably met with stiff resistance. In this
enormously practical book, Lawrence Susskind and Patrick Field
analyze scores of both private and public-sector cases, as well as
crisis scenarios such as the Alaskan oil spill, the silicone breast
implant controversy, and nuclear plant malfunction at Three Mile
Island. They show how resistance to both public and private
initiatives can be overcome by a mutual gains approach involving
face-to-face negotiation, a strategy applied successfully by over
fifteen hundred executives and officials who have attended
Professor Susskind''s MIT-Harvard "Angry Public" seminars.
Susskind and Field outline the six key elements of this approach
in order to help business and government leaders negotiate, rather
than fight, with their critics. In the process, they show how to
identify who the public is, whose concerns to address first, which
people and organizations must be convinced of the legitimacy of
action taken, and how to assess and respond to different types of
anger effectively. Acknowledging the crucial role played by the
media in shaping public perception and understanding, Susskind and
Field suggest a way to develop media interaction which is
consistent with the six mutual gains principles, and also discuss
the type of leadership that corporate and government managers must
provide in order to combine these ideas into a useful whole.
We all need to be concerned about a society in which the
public''s concerns, fears and anger are not adequately addressed.
When corporate and government agencies must spend crucial time and
resources on rehashing and defending each decision they make, a
frustrated and angry public contributes to the erosion of
confidence in our basic institutions and undermines our
competitiveness in the international marketplace. In this valuable
book, Susskind and Field have produced a strong, clear framework
which will help reduce these hidden costs for hundreds of
executives, managers, elected and appointed officials,
entrepreneurs, and the public relations, legal and other
professionals who advise them.