Summary: Changing societal expectations places new challenges on businesses and societies. In the global information society, a large number of actors outside of business’ traditional stakeholders create an ever-growing list of expectations of the business world. For today’s managers, financial results are no longer the only concern. The power of civil society groups and their effect on the (re)positioning of traditional stakeholders like consumers, governments and trade unions, lead to a considerably more challenging decision and management environment, certainly in a context of global competition. Managing complexity is the name of the game. However convergent the view may be on the need to take these broader societal expectations into consideration, a tremendous confusion remains as to the evolving role of business in society. Some academics, as well as business leaders, are convinced that these social expectations need to be mainstreamed into all aspects of management and governance. Others see it as part of emerging issues management; important but not at the heart of the business. The major theme for this conference is acknowledging, considering and analysing these changes in order to help the business community move forward in dealing with them. It addresses questions of high relevance for managers in dealing with evolving societal expectations and integration of these in governance, strategy, organisation and operations.

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