Summary of Shapeholders

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8 Overall

9 Applicability

9 Innovation

7 Style


The power that “shapeholders” – activist groups, politicians, thought leaders, regulators, media, influencers and opinion leaders – have to affect your business is rising, yet many executives remain blind to the consequences of their influence. They focus instead on producing profits for the benefit of shareholders and stakeholders. Former US congressman Mark R. Kennedy, now president of the University of North Dakota, explains that this leaves organizations vulnerable to attack. He demonstrates that shapeholders gauge their success by how they can change corporate behavior to conform to their agendas. They advocate on behalf of society’s growing expectation that companies should make the world a better place. Kennedy provides a seven-step strategy to address the full spectrum of shapeholder expectations and demands. Although his book is somewhat verbose, getAbstract recommends Kennedy’s scholarly, well-organized text as advice from a deeply informed veteran of shapeholder battlefields.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Who shapeholders are and how they set standards for your business,
  • Why you must monitor shapeholders and engage them, and
  • How to implement the “seven steps to shapeholder success.”

About the Author

President of the University of North Dakota Mark R. Kennedy is a former US congressman from Minnesota and a former presidential trade adviser to George W. Bush and Barack Obama.



Who Are Shapeholders?

Shapeholders are the activists, media outlets, political actors, thought leaders and regulators who strive to change corporate behavior to align with their goals. Though they have little personal stake in your organization, they greatly affect its opportunities and risks. Executives must understand the “paradox of profit”: a laser focus on profit will hurt your firm in the long term.

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