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Do Global Companies Need a Corporate Foreign Policy?

With supply chains and end markets spread across the globe, companies are now more vulnerable than ever to country and geopolitical risk. Against this backdrop, Stephanie Hare argues that today’s global company can reap significant benefits by developing a corporate foreign policy to align its values and priorities across all markets. However, there are different approaches that a corporation can take in formulating this identity. Should a corporation’s foreign policy embody the values of its home country, the country in which it does business, or an opportunistic hybrid of both? What is the business case to be made for or against these approaches? And what does the history of corporate diplomacy tell us about the prospects for success?

Stephanie Hare is the senior analyst for Western Europe at Oxford Analytica. Her work on corporate foreign policy with Professor Timothy Fort of George Washington University was the subject of a Council on Foreign Relations roundtable, featured in the Financial Times, and discussed at the Tällberg Winter Forum in Sweden. Her recent scholarly works include The Democratic Legitimacy of Euro-Area Bailouts, and Social Investment: The EU ‘Gold Standard’ and the Key to Future Prosperity. She has commented on European developments for BBC television and radio, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, El Pais, Clarin, and Xinhua. A French specialist, Hare advised on and appeared in the documentary Maurice Papon, itinéraire d’un homme d’ordre. She has taught history at Oxford University, where she held the Alistair Horne Visiting Fellowship. Hare holds a BA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and received her MSc and PhD at the London School of Economics.
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