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Survey finds corporations are still thinking short term

Wed Jul 22 18:40:48 EST 2009

SYDNEY, July 22 AAP - Short-term thinking is a stumbling block to corporate endurance yet many Australian executives believe companies are still swayed by short-term profit goals, a survey says.

In a survey seeking the views of executives on what posed a threat to a company's long term survival the Australian Institute of Management (AIM) identified "short-termism" as one of the issues of concern.

Almost half of the 1,207 executives who participated said it is impacting on their organisation's business direction, says Susan Heron, chief executive of AIM in Victoria & Tasmania.

"The global financial crisis is the time when companies should show they've learnt from the mistakes of the past, shun short-termism and focus on building long term competitive advantage," Ms Heron says.

"Companies should ensure they have the business basics right - strategy, cash flow, debt management and investing in their people to build and retain the critical skill sets necessary for long term growth," she said.

Ms Heron said AIM was concerned by the high failure rates of corporations both in Australian and overseas.

But she added the survey did find that local companies were employing some good strategies.

"Seventy-six per cent of respondents said their organisations are now attempting to achieve business outcomes based on th triple bottom line factors of economic, social and environmental," Ms Heron said.

"This gives cause for optimism that the vast majority of companies recognise that a sole focus on profits at the expense of all else is no longer acceptable to the market."