In the article entitled “Winning Legally: the Value of Legal Astuteness” the significance and the necessity of legally astute management are described. Legally astute managers understand the law does not simply create restrictions on business activities; it also creates opportunities. By taking the systems approach to business and society, the legally astute manager can understand the larger societal context in which the business functions, and leverage the law and the legal system to afford the business a competitive advantage. There are four primary components to legally astute management; the following discussion will examine these components and consider them within the context of conducting consumer transactions through social media outlets.
The legally astute manager will, as a primary foundation to conducting business, understand and appreciate the significance and importance of the law and of the legal system in the business context. It is impossible to conduct business without the constraints and opportunities offered by the legal system; the manager who understand and values this fact will be positioned well to take advantage of it. This understanding requires a “proactive” approach; it is imperative that the legally astute manager keeps abreast of legal issues and actively leverages the law and the legal system to the company’s advantage (Bagley, 2008). This leads to the next component: the ability to exercise “informed judgment” when managing the legal aspects of the business (Bagley). Finally, the legally astute manager will demonstrate “context-specific” legal knowledge and understand how to utilize the available legal tools to the advantage of the business (Bagley).
The legally astute manager of a business that conducts consumer transactions through social media will manifest the components of astute management by developing an understanding of the legal issues that govern the conduct of business in this context and using them to the advantage of the business. There are inherent legal risks involved in conducting business through social media, and the astute manager, as one who values the law, will understand these risks and develop proactive legal policies that limit the risk to the business. This may include developing clear policies about how social media is used to represent the company’s interests, and to limit the ways in which employees can interact with consumers (Merrill et al 2011). Other concerns for the legally astute manager include protecting the privacy of consumers, and mitigating the possibility of security breaches of consumer’s personal information (Merrill et al). There are a vast number of ways that businesses can interact with consumers, and it is imperative that managers understand the legal context in which social media functions and take proactive steps to protect the interests of the business and to leverage the legal opportunities to develop a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
Bagley, C. E. (2008). Winning legally: the value of legal astuteness. Academy of Management Review, 33(2), 378-390.
Merrill, T., Latham, K., Santalesa, R., & Navetta, D. (2011). SocialMedia: TheBusiness Benefits May Be Enormous, But Can the Risks –Reputational, Legal, Operational– Be Mitigated?. Retrieved from http://www.acegroup.com/us-en/assets/ace-progress-report-social-media.pdf