The results of the Lobbying survey exhibited that lobbying and public affairs have arrived in Austria. On average more than 60 percent of all companies lobby their interests, among big companies it‘s more than 80 percent. Almost all companies (scarcely 97%) monitor social and politico-economic developments. More than half indicated that lobbying is used for obtaining information and hence provides an important basis for decisions. Here, the larger the company, the greater the benefit to the company’s success will be evaluated. Three out of four large companies entrust their own employees with the representation of interests. Great potential lies with the associations and federations: When it comes to lobbying, more than 40 percent of the surveyed managers rely on these organizations. The share of contracted lobbyists is expected to be close to a double-digit range. More than 20 percent stated to hire external consultants, but since it wasn’t asked explicitly for public affairs consulting, communication consultancies and legal advice may have been included.

Lobbying survey delivers missing quantifications

The aim of this study, carried out by  Wirtschaftsforum der Führungskräfte (WdF) and Kovar & Partners, was to deliver the missing quantifications for lobbying and public affairs: The „Austrian Business Leaders Lobbying Survey 2014“ surveyed directors, CEOs and managers from the 1st to 3rd level. Lobbying and public affairs as a business function are already standard and will continue to gain in importance. The public affairs consultant market in Austria is still little developed and there are only a few specialized agencies. There is yet great potential to further develop these services.

Quality management instead of lobbying hysteria

In a pluralistic society there is great interest in participation. The need for political decisions and complex interrelationships make lobbying important. Therefore, in public debate, in legislation and in companies a new, realistic approach is necessary because the current dealing with the representation and mediation of interests is not adequate. It is time to end the lobbying hysteria in the public and the media discussion. Corruption and lobbying are not the same. In the past lobbying had to serve as a designation for all kinds of covert payments and other malversations. Lobbying is far from taking place in a legal vacuum, but legislators may have to amend the framework of the registration requirement in the Lobbying Act – and the legislative process must be transparent and enable participation. For companies, this means that they need quality management and compliance management for public affairs and lobbying. Companies are becoming more and more political players. The survey results show that the engagement of civil society is growing. Therefore the study is to be regarded as a contribution to strengthen the cooperation between politics, economy and civil society in order to solve existing economic and social problems more effectively.

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