The Public Affairs Council defines Corporate Affairs as "an organisation's efforts to monitor and manage its business environment."
To manage its environment, the organisation must identify all of the stakeholder groups that can have an impact on the organisation in some way; establish positive relationships with each of those groups, and work continuously to extend and deepen those relationships through direct and indirect efforts.
The groups include customers; the financial community, including existing and potential investors, lenders, and analysts; the organisation itself, including employees, unions, franchisees, partners, and suppliers; and the community at large, including opinion leaders in the media (including the financial media) and academia, governments, and regulators.
The desired effect of public affairs is a strong and positive perception among each group of stakeholders.
The routes into Corporate Affairs are two-fold, either by working "in-house" for any organisation that needs to manage its reputation or by working for a consultancy that provides Corporate Affairs support to organisations.
Within Corporate Affairs there are a number of distinct disciplines, two of which are covered in more detail due to their relevance to lawyers planning a career change - see 'Investor Relations' and 'Financial PR'.