The Voice of Business

by The British Academy

Number of pages


A wide range of academic institutions are embarking on research from 2017 to consider the future of business from different angles. This publication aims to be a contribution to that effort, incorporating the voice of leaders of business in the project from the outset.

The Voice of Business captures the views of 16 leaders in business, drawn from in-depth interviews covering the broad topic areas of the project as a whole. Most specifically, it covers:

  • How they see the role of business as an engine in society

  • The key issues they raise about the future of the corporation, including their perspective on trust and purpose, on the nature of values and leadership, on engagement with government, regulation and civil society – as well as the tension between short-term results and long-term strategy, and the development of sustainable business models

  • Their perspectives on the challenge of disruptive change, driven by technologies which are fundamentally redefining their markets, and may also offer the opportunity to reframe societal expectations of business.

While these are not new areas for consideration, the intention in this publication is to understand the perspectives of people who experience these questions in action. As the research which will make up the Future of the Corporation gets underway, the intention is to ensure that that work is set in the context of how business leaders see the role of business in the world, and the pressures and opportunities that presents.

As the Future of the Corporation programme unfolds our aspiration is to engage a wide range of stakeholders in fresh thinking about the future of corporations, including government, policy-makers, regulators, economic and social commentators, and business itself.

We hope this publication will be thought-provoking for all those who engage in the academic studies and debates which form part of this effort.

About the author
Lucy Parker is co-author of Everybody’s Business: The unlikely story of how big business can fix the world. She is a strategic advisor at the Brunswick Group, working with senior leadership in business. With her co-author, Jon Miller, she leads Brunswick’s offer that focuses on how businesses play their role in society. She has more than 20 years’ experience with global corporates across a range of sectors, from pharmaceuticals to engineering, from retail to telecoms. Lucy began her working life making documentaries for the BBC, before moving into the business arena helping companies communicate with the investment community and employees, and with civil society and government. In government, from 2008-2010 she led the Prime Minister’s Taskforce on Talent and Enterprise, focused on the importance of skills to competitiveness in the global economy.

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