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NewCorporate Diplomacy: Building Reputations and Relationships with External Stakeholders


Program Overview

You may think that your company is well prepared to deal with unforeseen business challenges and competitive threats. But what about an individual critic armed with a camera phone and a YouTube account? Or a decentralized grassroots organization that seemingly pops up overnight, appears to have no single leader or headquarters, and yet is quite successful in capturing media attention? Lone individuals as well as small activist groups have done extensive damage to the reputations — and value — of multinationals in recent years. And yet most companies don’t plan for, or even think about, investing in building the kinds of solid relationships with community leaders, governments, NGOs, and other key players that can help them avoid such crises and, when necessary, draw upon their reservoir of stakeholder capital to respond quickly and decisively when a crisis hits.

Corporate Diplomacy: Building Reputations and Relationships with External Stakeholders provides an integrative perspective towards the management of these risks. It highlights that better assessment of stakeholder opinion, understanding of how stakeholders impact firm value and of how to infuse stakeholder relationships with trust to unlock that value are increasingly critical elements of a firm’s long-term success, particularly in emerging markets. The program, which is taught by some of Wharton’s most sought-after experts on corporate reputation management, global strategy, emotional intelligence, and negotiation and persuasion, will give participants a combination of practical tools and the latest academic thinking in stakeholder engagement.

Impact & Experience

Corporate Diplomacy will build the capabilities that can help you safeguard your firm’s reputation and value, making the development of stakeholder relationships a key strategic endeavor throughout the organization.

Sessions include:

  • Global Leadership — Strengthen your team’s abilities to collaborate and communicate across organizational silos and cultural and geographical borders
  • Crisis Communication — Learn techniques on how to influence public perception and effectively communicate during a business crisis. Know who should be at the podium when time is of the essence—and your corporate reputation is on the line.
  • Stakeholder Mapping & Analysis — Visualize the often-complex networks of partners, competitors, clients and government agencies, and use that information for competitive advantage.
  • Emotional Intelligence — Discover why this type of intelligence is often more important than technical and cognitive ability, and how it relates to improving outcomes in stakeholder relations.

In addition, you will be pressure-tested as you and your team are immersed in a Real-World Simulation in which you must address external stakeholders in the aftermath of a crisis. Your team’s performance will be determined at the end of the exercise by an evaluation of how well you engaged stakeholders across the globe which, in turn, impacts the economic and operational performance of your project.

Lessons from the Front Lines

This program also includes Lessons from the Front Lines. In these sessions you will learn from some of the world’s most experienced experts on corporate diplomacy and foreign relations, who will share their own perspective on best practices.

  • Carlos Gutierrez is the former Chairman of the Board and CEO of the Kellogg Company.  He served as the U.S. Secretary of Commerce from 2005 to 2009 under President George W. Bush. He is Chair of Albright Stonebridge Group, a global strategic advisory firm and recently served as Vice Chairman of the Institutional Clients Group and a member of the Senior Strategic Advisory Group of Citi.

Who Attends This Program

Corporate Diplomacy is designed for senior leaders of global firms who:

  • Must deal with political and social challenges in order to meet or surpass their financial and operational targets
  • Are responsible for operations, strategy, R&D, sales, supply chains, government affairs, and/or sustainability
  • See a need for a holistic approach to issues of concern to stakeholders rather than a siloed approach which separates core business functions from those facing external stakeholders such as government affairs, sustainability and communications

The program is also suitable for consultants whose firms are focused on international investments, government affairs, corporate (crisis) communications and sustainability who want to broaden or integrate their service offerings.

To further leverage the value and impact of Corporate Diplomacy, we encourage companies to send cross-functional teams of executives to Wharton. We offer one of two exciting group benefits to companies sending four or more participants to this program.


  • Witold Henisz

    Witold Henisz, PhD

    Faculty Director

    Deloitte & Touche Professor of Management, in Honor of Russell E. Palmer, former Managing Partner; The Wharton School

    Research Interests: Stakeholder engagement, political and economic reform, project managementSee Faculty Bio

  • Sigal Barsade

    Sigal Barsade, PhD

    Joseph Frank Bernstein Professor of Management, The Wharton School

    Research Interests: Emotional intelligence, organizational culture, team dynamicsSee Faculty Bio

  • Mario Moussa

    Mario Moussa, PhD

    Senior Fellow, Wharton Executive Education, The Wharton School; President, Moussa Consulting

    See Faculty Bio

  • Greg Urban

    Greg Urban, PhD

    The Arthur Hobson Quinn Professor, Professor of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania

    See Faculty Bio

Program Logistics

Tuition for Philadelphia programs includes lodging and meals. Prices are subject to change. Program consultants are available to provide more information on course specifics and discuss how this program might meet your needs. Please contact them by e-mail or by phone at +1 215.898.1776.

Plan Your Stay

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