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Abstract

This article identifies stages in the development of corporate citizenship in large organizations. Drawing on a combination of U. S. and global executive surveys, a longitudinal study of ten companies advancing their citizenship agendas, and several case studies, this article posits that the development of citizenship is paced by a series of challenges that firms encounter. It describes these evolutionary stages and circumstances that trigger movement through them and illustrates characteristic company attitudes and practices at each stage. It concludes by examining the institutional, environmental, and organizational factors that shape and constrain the development of corporate citizenship within firms.
Stages of Corporate Citizenship:
A Developmental Framework
by Philip Mirvis, Ph.D. and Bradley K. Googins, Ph.D.
A Center for Corporate Citizenship at Boston College Monograph
THE CENTER FOR CORPORATE CITIZENSHIP AT BOSTON COLLEGE • www.bc.edu/corporatecitizenship
To the Reader:
This monograph is intended for executives who find
themselves on the front line of balancing the expecta-
tions of stakeholders – such as shareholders, employ-
ees, communities, governments, and activists – with
the management of a successful business. While there
are many terms used to describe this, such as corpo-
rate citizenship, corporate responsibility, sustainability
or the triple bottom line, there are few mechanisms
that allow you to gauge the status of your company. We
believe this monograph and the developmental frame-
work it presents is such a tool.
The Center for Corporate Citizenship at Boston College
defines the essence of citizenship as how a company
delivers on its core values in a way that:
Minimizes harm
Maximizes benefit
Is accountable and responsive to key stakeholders
Supports strong financial results
There is no one-size-fits-all model of corporate citizen-
ship. Each company must identify the values and prac-
tices that anchor its business strategy and then man-
age appropriate to specific dynamics related to the
company’s history, industry, workforce, and other
aspects of its competitive environment. This mono-
graph provides a perspective that allows you to deter-
mine where your company fits in the current landscape
and provides guidance to plot a future course. We pro-
vide tangible examples and case studies to illustrate
distinct dimensions of citizenship within a company at
a specific point in time.
We encourage you to determine the stage that best
describes the current status of your company. Does
this match the expectations of your top executives,
employees, and key stakeholders? Perhaps along some
dimensions and not others. With this development
framework you can take the mystery out of your corpo-
rate citizenship and control the future course of your
company.
This monograph series is supported by
General Motors
The text paper for this report is printed on 100%
recycled, chlorine- and acid-free paper; cover is
30% recycled paper
A RESEARCH CENTER AT BOSTON COLLEGE • The Wallace E. Carroll School of Management • 1
Not all of these initiatives are suitable for every compa-
ny. How then is an executive to know what to act on
now, or assuming the company is already knee-deep in
many initiatives, what is the optimal set of initiatives for
the company and its stakeholders? A company should
assess the appropriate and effective actions it should
take regarding transparency, governance, community
economic development, work-family balance, environ-
mental sustainability, human rights protection, and
ethical investor relationships. A company should ask
whether there a connection between risk management,
corporate branding, stakeholder engagement, supplier
certification, cause-related marketing, and employee
diversity? Should there be?
Research by The Center for Corporate Citizenship at
Boston College suggests that the balance between con-
fusion and coherence often depends on what stage a
company is in relative to its development of corporate
citizenship.
1
Relative neophytes, for instance, often lack
understanding of the many aspects of corporate citizen-
ship and have neither the expertise nor the machinery
to respond to so many diverse interests and demands.
Their chief challenges are to put citizenship firmly on
the corporate agenda, get better informed about the
concerns of stakeholders, and take sensible initial steps.
At the other extreme are companies that have already
made a significant investment in citizenship. In this
case, the CEO is typically leading the firm’s position on
social and environmental issues, and the board is fully
informed. To move forward these companies might try
to connect citizenship to core business strategy and to
employees through a “live the brand” campaign like
those at IBM and Novo Nordisk or by establishing citi-
zenship objectives for line managers, as Dupont and
UBS have done.
To understand the relevance of corporate citizenship
for a company, much depends on what the company
has accomplished to date and how far it intends to carry
its commitment. Through a random sample of
American businesses, The Center has found that
roughly 10 percent of company leaders do not under-
stand corporate citizenship.
2
On the other end of the
spectrum, not quite as many firms have integrated pro-
grams and are setting new standards of performance.
Among the majority in between, there is a wide range
of companies in transition whose knowledge, attitudes,
structures, and practices represent different degrees of
understanding of and sophistication about citizenship.
Recognizing the stage in which a company is operating
and understanding the challenges created by advancing
citizenship, will help clarify for executives a sense of
where things stand, frame strategic choices about
where to go, aid in setting benchmarks and goals, and
perhaps speed movement forward.
Business leaders throughout the world are making corporate citizenship a key priority for their compa-
nies. Some are updating policies and revising programs; others are forming citizenship steering com-
mittees, measuring their environmental and social performance, and issuing public reports. Select
firms are striving to align staff functions responsible for citizenship and move responsibility—and
accountability—into lines of business. And a vanguard is trying to create a market for citizenship and
offer products and services that aim explicitly to both make money and make a better world.
Introduction
Stages of Corporate Citizenship:
A Developmental Framework
2 • THE CENTER FOR CORPORATE CITIZENSHIP AT BOSTON COLLEGE • www.bc.edu/corporatecitizenship
Stages of Corporate Citizenship: A Developmental Framework
Stages of Development
What does it mean that a company is at a particular stage
of corporate citizenship? The general idea, found in the
study of children, groups, and systems of all types,
including business organizations, is that there are dis-
tinct patterns of activity at different points of develop-
ment.
3
Typically, these activities become more complex
and sophisticated as development progresses and there-
fore capacities to respond to environmental challenges
increase in kind. Jean Piaget’s developmental theory, for
example, examines how children progress through
stages that entail more complex thinking and finer judg-
ments about negotiating the social world outside of
themselves. Similarly, groups mature along a develop-
mental path as they confront emotional and task chal-
lenges that require more socially sensitive interaction
and sophisticated problem solving.
Larry Greiner, in his ground-breaking study of organi-
zational growth found that companies also develop
more complex ways of doing things at different stages
of growth.
4
Organizations, over time, find more direc-
tion after their creative start-up phase. Infrastructure
and systems then take on more responsibilities, fol-
lowed by working through challenges of over-control
and red tape with better coordination and later pro-
gressing to collaboration across work units and levels.
Stages of Corporate Citizenship:
Many Models
There are a number of models involving the stages of
corporate citizenship. On a macro-scale, for example,
scholars have tracked changing conceptions of the role
of business in society as advanced by business leaders,
governments, academics, and multi-sector associa-
tions.
5
They document how increasingly elaborate and
inclusive definitions of social responsibility, environ-
mental protection, and corporate ethics and governance
have developed over recent decades and resulted in an
enlarged role of business in society. Others have looked
into the spread of these ideas into industry and society
in the form of social and professional movements.
6
At the level of the firm, Post and Altman have shown
how environmental policies progressively broaden and
deepen as companies encounter more demanding
expectations and build their capability to meet them.
7
In turn, Zadek’s case study of Nike’s response to chal-
lenges in its supply chain highlights stages in the devel-
opment of attitudes about social responsibilities in
companies and in corporate responsiveness to social
issues.
8
Both of these studies emphasize the role of
organizational learning as company responsibilities
become more complex at successive stages of develop-
ment, action requirements are more demanding, and
the organizational structures, processes, and systems
used to manage citizenship are more elaborate and
comprehensive.
Factors in Development of Citizenship
Hundreds of citizenship practitioners have rated their
companies along the dimensions of this stage model
developed by The Center for Corporate Citizenship at
Boston College. After considering the options, most
find that their businesses are not at any single stage of
citizenship: in some aspects their firms are integrated,
in others innovative, and in still others just getting start-
ed. This means that the dimensions we have outlined
are not invariant. Companies are apt to be ahead in
some dimensions and behind on others. One observer
pointed out, for instance, that there are companies that
win citizenship awards based on their social reports but
have seemingly mastered only the reporting aspects.
Others, by comparison, may be proactive in their pro-
grams but lagging in transparency.
These kinds of variation are found in developmental
models of all types. After all, development is shaped by
the interaction of a unique entity such as a person,
group, organization, or social phenomena and its dis-
tinct environment such as material, social, or political.
Development of Citizenship
In our research, The Center has examined the genera-
tive logic and mechanisms that drive the development
of citizenship within companies. We consider the devel-
opment of citizenship as a stage-by-stage process in
which a combination of internal capabilities applied to
environmental challenges propels development for-
ward in a more or less “normal” or normative logic. In
Greiner’s terms, organizational development is punctu-
ated by a series of predictable crises that trigger respons-
es that move the organization forward. The triggering
mechanisms are often the tensions between current
practices and the problems they produce that demand
A RESEARCH CENTER AT BOSTON COLLEGE • The Wallace E. Carroll School of Management • 3
Stage 1: Stage 2: Stage 3: Stage 4: Stage 5:
Elementary Engaged Innovative Integrated Transforming
Citizenship
Jobs, Profits Philanthropy, Stakeholder Sustainability or Change
Concept & Taxes Environmental Management Triple Bottom Line the Game
Protection
Strategic Intent Legal License Business Case Value Market Creation
Compliance to Operate Proposition or Social Change
Leadership Lip Service, Supporter, Steward, Champion, Visionary, Ahead
Out of Touch In the Loop On Top of It In Front of It of the Pack
Structure Marginal: Functional Cross-Functional Organizational Mainstream:
Staff Driven Ownership Coordination Alignment Business Driven
Issues Defensive Reactive, Responsive, Pro-Active, Defining
Management Policies Programs Systems
Stakeholder Unilateral Interactive Mutual Partnership Multi-
Relationships Influence Alliance Organization
Transparency Flank Public Public Assurance Full Disclosure
Protection Relations Reporting
STAGES OF CORPORATE CITIZENSHIP
Dimensions
a new response from a firm. For instance, creativity—
the entrepreneurial fire in companies—also generates
confusion and a loss of focus that may stall growth. This
poses a “crisis of leadership” that must be resolved to
allow a stage of orderly growth and direction to result,
often under new leadership and more formal structures.
A later tension between delegation and its conse-
quences, sub-optimization and inter-group conflict, trig-
gers a “crisis of control” and movement toward coordi-
nation. And so on. In development language, compa-
nies in effect master these challenges by devising pro-
gressively more effective and elaborate responses.
The Center’s model is also normative in that it posits a
series of more or less sequential stages in the develop-
ment of corporate citizenship. Here, too, the triggers
for movement are internal and external challenges that
call for a fresh response. These challenges, as we shall
see, center initially on a firm’s credibility as a corporate
citizen, then its capacities to meet expectations, the
coherence of its many subsequent efforts, and, finally,
its commitment to institutionalize citizenship in its
business strategies and culture.
Movement along a single development path is not fixed
nor is attaining a penultimate “end state” a logical con-
clusion.
9
This means that the arc of corporate citizen-
ship within a firm is shaped by the socio-economic,
environmental, and institutional forces impinging on
the enterprise. This effect is well documented by David
Vogel’s analysis of the “market for virtue” where he
finds considerable variability in the business case for
citizenship across firms and industries and thus limits
its marketplace rewards.
10
Notwithstanding, a compa-
ny’s response to these forces also varies based on the
attitudes and outlooks of its leaders, the design and
management of its citizenship agenda, and firm-specif-
ic learning.
11
Thus, there are “companies with a con-
science” that have a more expansive citizenship profile
and firms that create a market for good works.
12
Here we consider how pro-active a
company is on myriad citizenship issues
and how responsive it is in terms of poli-
cies, programs, and performance.
Stakeholder Relationships:
How does a company
engage its stakeholders?
The sixth dimension of citizenship
concerns a company’s relationship
with its stakeholders. A wide range of
trends, from increased social
activism by shareholders to an expo-
nential increase in the number of
nongovernmental organizations
(NGOs) around the world, has driv-
en wholesale changes in the ways
companies communicate with and
engage their stakeholders.
Here we look at this development in
terms of the increasing openness and
depth of such relationships.
Transparency: How open
is a corporation about its
financial, social, and
environmental performance?
Upwards of 80 percent of Fortune
500 companies now use their web
sites to address social and environ-
mental issues and roughly half of the
companies today issue a public
report on their activities.
4
From a developmental perspective, our
interest is in when and how companies
adopt transparent practices and how
much they disclose.
Citizenship Concept:
How is citizenship defined?
How comprehensive is it?
Definitions of corporate citizenship
are many and varied. The Center’s
concept considers the total actions of
a company and applies social
contract principles such that a com-
pany’s actions minimize harm, maxi-
mize benefit, are accountable and
responsive to stakeholders, and sup-
port financial results.
From a developmental perspective our
interest focuses on how comprehensive
and inclusive a company regards its role
in society and less on how a company
defines its specific citizenship activities.
Strategic Intent: What is
the purpose of citizenship?
A second dimension concerns
the strategic intent of a company:
What is it trying to achieve with citi-
zenship? N.C. Smith observes that
few companies embrace a strictly
moral commitment to citizenship;
often considering reputational risks
and benefits, and a business case for
their efforts.
1
The Center’s research
finds increasing interest in an “inside-
out” framework to guide actions and
investments. This is a key indicator of
the relative importance of citizenship
to the corporate agenda.
Regardless of the terms and framework
used, we focus on the extent that citi-
zenship is embedded in a company’s
strategies, products and services, cul-
ture, and ways of doing business.
DIMENSIONS OF CITIZENSHIP
4 • THE CENTER FOR CORPORATE CITIZENSHIP AT BOSTON COLLEGE • www.bc.edu/corporatecitizenship
To track the developmental path of citizenship in companies, we focus on seven dimen-
sions of citizenship that vary at each stage:
1
2
6
7
1
Smith, N. C. “Corporate Social Responsibility: Whether or How?”
California Management Review. 45/4 (2003): 52-76.
2
See Responding to the Leadership Challenge: Findings of a CEO Survey on Global Corporate Citizenship. (Geneva: World Economic Forum, 2002). The
Changing Role of Business in Society: A Global CEO Survey.
(New York: The Conference Board, International Business Leaders Forum, Asian Institute of
Management and Instituto Ethos, 2002).
3
See Post, J. E. and Griffin, J. J.
The State of Corporate Public Affairs: Final Report. (Boston: Boston University School of Management and Foundation
for Public Affairs, 1966); State of Corporate Public Affairs Survey. (Washington: Center for Public Affairs Management, 2002); Mahon, J. J. and
Waddock, S. A. “Strategic Issues Management: An Integration of Issue Life Cycle Perspectives.”
Business & Society, 31/1 (1992): 19-32.
4
On web sites, see Bhattacharya, C. B. and Sen, S. “Doing Better at Doing Good: When, Why, and How Consumers Respond to Corporate Social Initiatives.”
California Management Review. 47/1 (2004): 9-24; Social Reporting Fact Sheet. (Boston: Center for Corporate Citizenship at Boston College, 2004).
Leadership: Do top leaders
support citizenship? Do
they lead the effort?
Visible, active, top level leadership
appears on every industry and execu-
tive survey as the top factor for driving
citizenship within a corporation.
2
This third dimension addresses how
informed top leaders are about citizen-
ship, how much leadership they show,
and to what extent they “walk the talk.”
Structure: How are respon-
sibilities for citizenship
managed?
The fourth dimension concerns the
management of citizenship through-
out an enterprise. A three-year in-
depth study by The Center involving
eight companies found that many
progressed from managing citizen-
ship from functional “islands” to
cross-functional committees and a
few had begun to achieve integration
through a combination of structures,
processes, and systems.
We look at this development in terms of
the movement of citizenship from a
marginal position to its management
as a mainstream business activity.
Issues Management: How
does a company deal with
issues that arise?
Scholars have mapped the evolution
of the public affairs office in corpora-
tions and stages in the management
of public issues.
3
3
4
5
Stage 1: Elementary
Citizenship Concept: Jobs, profits & taxes
Strategic Intent: Compliance
Leadership: Lip service; out of touch
Structure: Marginal; staff driven
Issues Management: Defensiveness
Stakeholder relationships: Unilateral
Transparency: Flank protection
In this base stage, citizenship activity is episodic and its
programs are undeveloped. The reasons are usually
straightforward: scant awareness of what corporate citi-
zenship is all about, uninterested or indifferent top
management, and limited or one-way interactions with
external stakeholders, particularly in the social and
environmental sectors.
The mindset in these companies, reflected in policies
and practices, often centers narrowly on compliance
with laws and industry standards. Handling matters of
compliance in these firms is usually assigned to the
functional heads of departments such as human
resources, legal, investor relations, public relations, and
community affairs. The focus is simply on obeying the
law and protecting the firm’s reputation and conse-
quently, in many cases, the company appears to take a
defensive stance toward outside pressures. In the early
1990s Nike exempli-
fied this stage in its
dealings with labor
activists.
It is not fair to label
leaders of companies
at this stage as back-
ward or to see their
citizenship efforts as
necessarily suspect.
Some believe on prin-
ciple, like economist
Milton Friedman, that
a company’s obliga-
tions to society are to
“make a profit, pay
taxes, and provide
jobs.”
13
Others, par-
ticularly those head-
ing smaller and mid-
The Stages of Citizenship
The model presented here is normative in that it offers
a series of more or less sequential stages in the devel-
opment of corporate citizenship along seven dimen-
sions. Each phase is illustrated with examples of corpo-
rate practice. Please note, however, we are not implying
that the companies cited operate currently at that stage;
rather we report practices that, at the time cited, are
illustrative of citizenship at a specific development
stage. A closer inspection of any company cited will
reveal instances where it has a leading edge practice in
some dimensions but is less developed in others. This
should not be surprising. After all, development is sel-
dom uniform, as can be witnessed in a child’s whose
physical, mental, and emotional growth typically devel-
op at different rates. In the same way, the development
of corporate capabilities is uneven. Often influencing
the development of citizenship are firm-specific forces
in society, industry dynamics, and other environmental
influences, not to mention leadership and a company’s
culture. Nevertheless, the normative pattern of activity
at each stage has an internal consistency that can be
useful in gauging where a company is in the develop-
ment of its citizenship thrust and where it might
choose to develop further.
STAGE 1
A RESEARCH CENTER AT BOSTON COLLEGE • The Wallace E. Carroll School of Management • 5
Stages of Corporate Citizenship: A Developmental Framework
DEVELOPMENTAL CHALLENGES THAT TRIGGER MOVEMENT
OF CORPORATE CITIZENSHIP
Transforming
Integrated
Innovative
Engaged
Elementary
Credibility
Capacity
Coherence
Commitment
STAGE 2
STAGE 3
STAGE 4
STAGE 5
6 • THE CENTER FOR CORPORATE CITIZENSHIP AT BOSTON COLLEGE • www.bc.edu/corporatecitizenship
Stages of Corporate Citizenship: A Developmental Framework
size businesses, comply willingly with employment
and health, safety, and environmental regulations but
have neither the resources nor the wherewithal to do
much more for their employees, communities, or soci-
ety writ large.
Former General Electric CEO Jack Welch is an exem-
plar of this Friedman view. “A CEO’s primary social
responsibility is to assure the financial success of the
company,” he says. “Only a healthy, winning company
has the resources and capability to do the right
thing.”
14
GE’s financial success over the past two
decades is unquestioned. However, the company’s rep-
utation suffered toward the end of Welch’s tenure
when it was revealed that one of its business units had
discharged tons of the toxic chemical PCB into the
Hudson River. When challenged, Welch was defensive
and pointed out that GE had fully complied with then
existing environmental protection laws.
This illustrates one of the triggers that move a compa-
ny forward into a new stage of citizenship. Welch’s
stance was out of touch with changing expectations of
corporate responsibility. Welch’s successor, Jeffrey
Immelt, reversed this course by accepting at least par-
tial financial responsibility for the cleanup and there-
after elevated citizenship on the company’s agenda.
Challenge: Gain Credibility. It’s clear that society
expects more from companies today—particularly larg-
er businesses. A recent survey of public opinion found
only 10 percent of adults subscribed to Friedman’s nar-
row view of corporate responsibility. A follow-up poll
found more than 80 percent agreed that “larger compa-
nies should do more than give money to solve social
problems.”
15
These prevailing expectations challenge a firm at this
basic stage of citizenship. The difficulties that Nike and
Shell experienced in the 1990s illustrate how mere
compliance with legal and industry standards threatens
the credibility of a company when it proves unable or
unwilling to respond to new expectations. Such chal-
lenges are most potent when, as in these cases, they
take the form of a crisis and threaten a highly visible
firm’s reputation or competitive status.
Interestingly, most U.S. business leaders today under-
stand these changing expectations and have taken steps
to further develop a citizenship agenda. The Center’s
2003 survey of business leaders, for example, found
that 75 percent believe that the public expects them to
exceed laws to make sure products are reliable and safe
and 58 percent said the public expects them to exceed
laws to protect the environment. More broadly, three-
fourths say that the public has a right to expect good cit-
izenship from companies.
16
Such awareness, inside a
company, reveals a readiness to make the transition
from a basic law-abiding stance to initial engagement
with broader realms of corporate citizenship.
Stage 2: Engaged
Citizenship Concept: Philanthropy, environmental
protection
Strategic Intent: License to operate
Leadership: Supporter, in the loop
Structure: Functional ownership
Issues Management: Reactive, policies
Stakeholder relationships: Interactive
Transparency: Public relations
At this second stage, top management often wakes up
to society’s increasing expectations and begins to
adopt a new outlook on the company’s role and
responsibilities. Dupont had this awakening in 1989
when new CEO Edward Woolard declared that the
company would move from simply complying with
environmental laws to winning the public’s trust.
17
Chiquita, a late-riser by comparison, got its wake up
call in 1998 when it was attacked by the media and
NGOs with allegations related to the firm’s woeful
employment practices in Central and South America.
The company subsequently interviewed hundreds of
employees, revised its statement of core values, and
adopted a new code of conduct that articulated its
social responsibilities.
There are a number of signs that mark the transition to
the Engaged Stage of corporate citizenship. Simon
Zadeck, for instance, points out that at this stage com-
panies often adopt a policy-based approach to mitigate
the likelihood of litigation and risks to reputation.
18
A RESEARCH CENTER AT BOSTON COLLEGE • The Wallace E. Carroll School of Management • 7
Stages of Corporate Citizenship: A Developmental Framework
The policies typically drafted call on the company to
exceed the law with respect to employment and health,
safety, and environmental practices. Furthermore, com-
munity, environmental, and social issues are typically
studied and gain more visibility and attention within
the firm. Top leaders, who may have been out of touch
with these matters, begin to take an interest and moni-
tor what is going on. Staff units, formerly left to their
own devices, are now tasked with owning corporate-
wide policies and expected to perform to higher stan-
dards. The leaders of these functions are expected to
become better informed about developments in their
industry and among their competitors.
Still, companies at this developmental stage tend to be
reactive to emerging social and environmental issues—
as was the case with Chiquita, Nestlé (regarding infant
formula), and more recently, Home Depot (regarding
the sale of lumber cut from protected forests). Outside
professionals or consultants with specialized knowl-
edge and experience often have to be brought in to
enhance functional know-how. These experts often
introduce new concepts and performance standards
about issues such as protecting human rights in over-
seas operations, gaining ISO 14000 certification for
eco-friendly technologies, ensuring transparency in
financial disclosures, or becoming a more family-
friendly employer.
Throughout this stage, many companies undertake
more extended, two-way communication with stake-
holders—talking with, rather than just at, community
groups, socially responsible investment bodies, and
NGOs. Employees may gain insight on company prac-
tices overall or on issues involving, for example, the
needs of working parents, ethnic minorities, or gays.
Challenge: Build Capacity. At this developmental point,
staff units are often overwhelmed by engagements with
stakeholders and are seldom equipped to respond to
new issues, opportunities and threats. This gap, in
turn, triggers a phase of innovation where senior exec-
utives become more deeply involved, staff launch more
extensive programs, and firms reach out to stakehold-
ers and become more open about their activities. A
company simply needs more capacity to address the
spectrum of new and varied interests and needs.
The Anglo-Dutch oil company Shell illustrated this during its
response in the mid-90s following the challenge by environ-
mentalists to the proposed sinking of its Brent Spar platform
and by social activists to the arrest by the Nigerian government
of a community leader who had protested the company’s treat-
ment of the indigenous Ogoni tribe and homeland.
1
Shell’s
scenario-planning process had not anticipated such threats;
and its then-current Business Principles proved woefully inade-
quate to guide a response to the issues which resulted in con-
tradictory responses from country managers, various corporate
groups, and Shell’s committee of managing directors.
Shell thereupon created a crisis management group of all rele-
vant interests in the company to address the immediate issues.
Later, a cross-functional, multi-business team was formed to
study the larger issues of Shell’s role in society, engage external
stakeholders, and set new socially and environmentally respon-
sible business principles. The strategic intent, characteristic of
this stage, was to protect Shell’s reputation and preserve the
company’s “license to operate” around the globe.
Over the next several years Shell’s citizenship efforts broad-
ened. In 1999, as the Shell Group began to innovate, it devised
a sustainable development management framework that
addressed economic development, wealth creation, climate
change, and engagement with society. It also established a
council of key staff and line executives to oversee its implemen-
tation. In 1998 Shell was also one of the first large, public com-
panies to issue a report on its social and environmental per-
formance,
People and Profits.
But there’s a cautionary note here, too. Shell’s efforts to
strengthen its social and environmental capabilities were not
matched by developments in transparency and ethics. Knowing
misstatements of its oil reserves and failings in environmental
reparation in Nigeria have since harmed Shell’s reputation and
license to operate. The Group’s latest move, to create a single
CEO position, is another attempt to deal with a changing land-
scape.
1
For a description of Shell’s response, see Mirvis, P. H.
Transformation at Shell: Commerce and citizenship. Business and
Society Review, 105-1, (2000): 63-84.
SHELL
Engaged Stage
8 • THE CENTER FOR CORPORATE CITIZENSHIP AT BOSTON COLLEGE • www.bc.edu/corporatecitizenship
Stages of Corporate Citizenship: A Developmental Framework
Stage 3: Innovative
Citizenship Concept: Stakeholder management
Strategic Intent: Business case
Leadership: Steward, on top of it
Structure: Cross-functional coordination
Issues Management: Responsive, programs
Stakeholder relationships: Mutual influence
Transparency: Public reporting
During this stage of development a company moves
forward in two ways: 1) broadening its agenda by
embracing a more comprehensive concept of citizen-
ship and 2) deepening its involvement as a top leader
and assuming more of a stewardship role. High levels
of innovation and learning mark this stage. One spark
is usually increased consultation with a diversity of
stakeholders that involve more open, two-way commu-
nication and mutual influence. Another feature is con-
tact with leading-edge companies and experts through
forums, conferences, and professional meetings.
As companies evolve through the Innovative Stage,
they typically grapple with creating the business case
for citizenship.
19
Research among companies in The
Center’s Executive Forum research project suggest,
however, that the criteria and metrics tend to be func-
tionalized at this stage. Managers responsible for social
agendas, for example, cite benefits for recruiting, reten-
tion, and reputation; those on the environmental front
cite factors of risk and life-cycle costs; and those on the
financial side stress matters of exposure and access to
capital. Meanwhile, senior leaders, taking an enterprise
perspective, point to the strength and value of the cor-
porate brand.
20
We have found that myriad corporate citizenship-relat-
ed programs are planned, funded, and launched during
this innovative stage. These typically start in functional
units and include internal and external input, an analy-
sis of needs and opportunities, a plan of action, and
proposals on budget and staff, all buttressed by a busi-
ness case to sell the benefits to management. What
would have been more ad hoc or reactive at an earlier
stage now appears to fit a more programmatic and
strategic logic.
Furthermore, companies also begin to monitor their
social and environmental performance and publish the
results in public reports. Our research, however, reveals
that most firms at this stage are simply compiling data
prepared by operating units and presenting it with a
corporate overlay. Recent financial scandals and subse-
quent legislation have led to wholesale changes in
financial transparency and disclosure throughout
industry. More benign pressures come through the
supply chain where firms are called upon to complete
questionnaires about their employment, environmen-
tal, and community practices. Surveys from socially
responsible investment houses, and from religious,
social action, and environmental interests also sharpen
attention to what is happening in a company. All of this
input and exposure, according to Gene Endicott, for-
mer director of public affairs and social responsibility at
Agilent, “bring a lot of people out of the woodwork” and
becomes a stimulus to action.
BAXTER INTERNATIONAL
One company that progressed into the innovative
stage of citizenship early on is the global healthcare
company Baxter International. In the early 1990s the
company piloted what would become the United
Nation-sponsored Global Reporting Initiative by
measuring and reporting on its economic, environ-
mental, and social performance. In 1997 it became
one of the first adopters of the CERES principles to
report on and improve its environmental perform-
ance. In the process, Baxter embraced the still-contro-
versial idea that the company is responsible to both
stockholders and stakeholders and will be held
accountable for its performance. This commitment
was tested in 2001 in Spain when six patients died
during dialysis treatment—potentially because of
problems with filters manufactured by a Baxter sub-
sidiary. The company responded by recalling the fil-
ters, apologizing publicly, taking a $189 million hit,
and reducing, at his own request, the CEO’s bonus.
1
1
Hammond, K. H. “Harry Kraemer’s Moment of Truth.” Fast
Company. 64 (2002): 93.
Innovative Stage
A RESEARCH CENTER AT BOSTON COLLEGE • The Wallace E. Carroll School of Management • 9
Stages of Corporate Citizenship: A Developmental Framework
Challenge: Create coherence. The launch of so many
new programs, growing requests for information and
exposure, and an increase in dialogue with stakeholders
often means that “a thousand flowers bloom.” This
seeds a new developmental crisis: coping with massive
differentiated activity. The case of Petro-Canada illus-
trates this phenomenon. An inventory of existing pro-
grams in the company in 2002 revealed that activity
was widespread but siloed and without alignment or
strategic purpose. Says Hazel Gillespie, PetroCanada’s
community investment manager, “We all realized that
we were contributing to the company’s reputation, but
we weren’t doing it in a coordinated, concentrated,
focused, and strategic way.”
Asea Brown Boveri (ABB) was a pioneer in addressing
this kind of chaos in an orderly fashion. The Swiss
maker of power and automation technologies estab-
lished a sustainability management program in 1992
and today has a Stakeholder Advisory Board composed
of the CEO, a sustainability department head, and
seven ad hoc advisors. ABB distributes responsibilities
among different groups in its global operation.
Business ethics, for example, fall under the company’s
legal department while human resources is responsible
for upholding labor principles. In total, nearly 500 peo-
ple in more than fifty countries have specific responsi-
bilities for sustainability programs and coordinate
through working groups and committees. The system
reflects ABB’s viewpoint that citizenship should be,
according to Michael Robertson, former sustainability
affairs officer, “set from the top and driven down
through the organization by example, leadership, and
top management support.”
Such efforts to systematize, coordinate, and manage
this flurry of activity illustrate the developmental ten-
sions between differentiation and integration. These
are attempts to pull together a response to the increas-
ing lack of coherence in the citizenship agenda in
many companies. However, these are generally insuf-
ficient at this stage for three interrelated reasons.
corporate staff units don’t see the necessity and
value of working together, especially when they feel
stretched by their own agendas and a sense of com-
petition for scarce resources.
many line managers don’t see the relevance as they
often face competing, short-term priorities.
and most importantly, a comprehensive view of cit-
izenship is not linked with corporate strategy or
embedded in the company culture.
INTEGRATING CITIZENSHIP: SAMPLE MECHANISMS
Action/company process Corporate exemplars
Board of Directors Level Committee Merck, McDonald's, Nike
Top Executive Steering Committee Shell, BP, Novartis, Group Danone, Henkel
CSR Risk Management Systems South African Breweries, Petro-Canada, Unocal
Stakeholder/Issues Management Matrix AMD, Renault, SC Johnson
Key Performance Indicators/Internal Reviews British Telecom, Novo Nordisk
Life Cycle Value Assessments Suncor, 3M
Triple Bottom Line/Balanced Score Card Thames Water, Novo Nordisk
Employee Sustainability Training Nike, Unilever
Stage 4: Integrated
Citizenship Concept: Sustainability or triple
bottom line
Strategic Intent: Value Proposition
Leadership: Champion, in front of it
Structure: Organizational alignment
Issues Management: Pro-active, systems
Stakeholder relationships: Partnership, alliances
Transparency: Assurance
One of the developmental challenges for companies at
the Integrated Stage is to progress, in Greiner terms,
from coordination to collaboration in driving citizen-
ship efforts. Select firms are making moves in this direc-
tion. Boards of directors are increasingly setting stan-
dards and monitoring corporate performance in these
arenas. An analysis of the Dow Jones Sustainability
Index reveals that roughly one in five of its member
companies have board-level citizenship committees.
21
Examples of other corporate-wide efforts to integrate
citizenship are also growing (see box on page 9). These
include risk management systems, stakeholder consul-
tation schemes, sustainability training for managers
and employees, issues management frameworks, and
the like.
Companies at this stage take steps to drive citizenship
into the lines of business. In operational terms, this
involves setting targets and key performance indica-
tors, and monitoring performance through balanced
scorecards. Two exemplary companies in these areas
are the U.K.-based beverage company Diageo and 3M:
Diageo CEO Paul Walsh has created an executive
level corporate citizenship committee and several
tiers of multi-functional committees to support cit-
izenship in the company’s lines of business.
3M has adopted a health, safety, and environment
management system with representatives in every
business. The company has applied life-cycle man-
agement policies to its product development func-
tions and requires that all of its manufacturing
facilities obtain ISO 14001 certification.
Both Diageo and 3M have corporate citizenship teams
of internal consultants and business managers who
offer advice and conduct audits in work units.
Social and environmental reporting, once a cutting-
edge practice, is no longer exceptional for big compa-
nies. Estimates, however, are that only 15 percent of
such reports are subject to any external verification—
which may be the next big step in embedding account-
10 • THE CENTER FOR CORPORATE CITIZENSHIP AT BOSTON COLLEGE • www.bc.edu/corporatecitizenship
Stages of Corporate Citizenship: A Developmental Framework
BP
British Petroleum was another leader in attempting to integrate citizenship from top-to-bottom and throughout its
businesses. BP’s integrated agenda begins with a commitment to sustainability that builds on the logic of multi-
stakeholder capitalism but joins social, environmental, and economic sustainability to the long-term survival of the
firm.
1
Other firms have expressed this kind of holistic conception of citizenship in the form of the triple bottom line.
Such high minded commitments are important, but insufficient in the post-Enron era. Accordingly, BP has put into
place an integrated governance system that includes a Board-level Ethics and Environmental Assurance Committee,
Corporate Directors of Social Policy and Business Ethics, Group-level oversight bodies, corporate and regional coor-
dinators, and business unit accountability measurements and audits. Heading all of this machinery is Lord John
Browne, CEO, who has been the champion of corporate citizenship in BP and a global spokesman for all of indus-
try. BP, then, exemplifies three keys to developments in this phase: 1) Vocal, out-in-front leadership; 2) an inclusive
vision of citizenship; and 3) integrative structures, processes, and systems.
1
BP Social Report. (2003). www.bp.com. “For us ‘sustainability’ means the capacity to endure as a group by renewing assets, creat-
ing and delivering products and services that meet the evolving needs of society, attracting successive generations of employees,
contributing to a flourishing environment and retaining the trust and support of customers, shareholders and communities.”
Integrated Stage
A RESEARCH CENTER AT BOSTON COLLEGE • The Wallace E. Carroll School of Management • 11
Stages of Corporate Citizenship: A Developmental Framework
ability into the business. Companies at this stage are
also more apt to disclose their failings as corporate cit-
izens. Both BP and Shell, for instance, have disclosed
social and environmental problems and conducted
“warts-and-all” assessments of questioned practices.
Interestingly, our research finds that many of the com-
panies that move into the Integrated Stage premise
their citizenship efforts less on a specific business case
and more on core corporate values.
22
Two examples:
Group Danone, the French multinational, frames its
code of conduct with a value proposition known as
the “Danone Way.” Its origins date to the protest
movements of the late 1960s when Antoine
Riboud, then chairman and CEO of a predecessor
company, vowed to meet new expectations of work-
ers and society. His vow was expressed formally in
1974 with a statement setting out a dual commit-
ment to business success and social responsibility.
Today, this dual commitment is reflected in myriad
criteria of citizenship used by Danone Group com-
panies in self-assessments that are, in turn,
reviewed by a high-level steering committee.
23
Novo Nordisk, the Danish pharmaceutical, has
adopted the triple bottom line and uses it to struc-
ture its policy bodies and management reviews.
It’s specific commitment to citizenship is
expressed in a charter of vision, values, and funda-
mentals summed up as the “Novo Nordisk Way of
Management.”
24
To further infuse this philosophy
into the culture, during a three-year cycle a group
of 30-40 non-executive facilitators meets with
every work unit and every employee to ensure that
actions and decisions live up to the promise of the
company’s values. Led by COO Kåre Schultz, this
thrust reinforces the brand message that Novo is a
caring company” and helps to “secure and main-
tain 80 years of tradition and integrity.”
Challenge: Deepen Commitment. The value proposi-
tion for corporate citizenship reaches its fullest expres-
sion when it is visibly integrated into a company’s busi-
ness strategy. BP stands out for its strategic commit-
ment to environmental sustainability in development
of future technologies, products, and services. Another
leader, Interface, the largest commercial carpet manu-
facturer in the world, has translated its commitment
into a commercial strategy of renting carpets to corpo-
rate clients and then recycling them. The CEO of
Interface says: “We have found a new way to win in the
marketplace…one that doesn’t come at the expense of
our grandchildren or the earth, but at the expense of the
inefficient competitor.”
25
GE has recently made a bold
commitment to its Ecoimagination initiative that
involves a doubling of research spending on environ-
mental technologies (to 25 percent of its research budg-
et) in anticipation of increasing the revenues from
these technologies from $1.5 billion in 2004 to $17.9
billion in 2010. GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt, troubled by
what he terms the “new economics of scarcity,” aims to
reinvigorate the company by focusing on the big prob-
lems facing society.
The key question a company at this stage has to con-
front is how deep is its commitment to citizenship?
Such a question is raised when a company is seriously
considering the complexities of sustainability and the
relative impact of its efforts versus the social, econom-
ic, and environmental problems it encounters in the
world. A select few will identify opportunities in this
and find partners willing to co-create new models of
sustainable commerce. Confronting this question
moves a company into the Transforming Stage and
places citizenship as more central part to the business
model. New organizational structures needed to man-
age and deliver citizenship are also created.
Stage 5: Transforming
Citizenship Concept: Change the game
Strategic Intent: Market creation or social change
Leadership: Visionary, ahead of the pack
Structure: Mainstream; business driven
Issues Management: Defining
Stakeholder relationships: Multi-organizational
Transparency: Full disclosure
At this point, it is premature to specify all of the charac-
teristics of this stage of development. However, some
features of this stage seem clear.
First, firms that innovate, rather than imitate, at this
stage seem to have a vision of being global citizens and
are often led by visible, visionary leaders. Indeed, some
of them have become global spokesmen for industry
12 • THE CENTER FOR CORPORATE CITIZENSHIP AT BOSTON COLLEGE • www.bc.edu/corporatecitizenship
Stages of Corporate Citizenship: A Developmental Framework
in this arena, specifically Ray Anderson, head of
Interface, who appears in the oft anti-business film
The Corporation and Jeffrey Hollender, CEO of
Seventh Generation and author of recent book on sus-
tainable corporate values.
26
Second, these firms seem to take stated corporate val-
ues seriously. A 2005 study of CEOs in 20 companies
that reflect this stage found that they are deeply trou-
bled by social and environmental conditions in the
world and motivated by a higher sense of corporate
purpose. Accordingly, a stated value expressed in many
of these companies was the aspiration to make the
world a better place.
27
Finally, firms at this stage seldom operate solo in the
social and environmental realm. They partner exten-
sively with other businesses, community groups, and
NGOs to address problems, reach new markets, and
develop local economies. At Unilever, for instance, we
identified nearly 20 global and more than 1,000 coun-
try-based or local partnerships. Not surprisingly, Zadek
terms this a “civil” stage in the growth of corporate
responsibility as it involves cross-industry and multi-
sector cooperation in addressing societal ills.
28
Ben & Jerry’s, the Body Shop, and Patagonia are com-
panies that make social and environmental activism
UNILEVER
Making a business of citizenship is not limited to high-technology companies. Unilever, the Anglo-Dutch marketer
of foods and home-and-personal care brands, has been widely noted for its socio-economic investments in emerg-
ing markets including the sale in India and parts of Africa of iodized salt that addresses a dietary deficiency among
the poor, and a campaign on hand-washing in India, where its Lifebuoy soap aims to reduce diarrheal disease.
1
In
both instances, the company devised new supply-chains to make their products affordable to the poor, developed
new distribution channels that turned under-privileged women into village-level entrepreneurs, and partnered with
government agencies and NGOs to leverage expertise and legitimate their efforts. This thrust, pioneered in its India
operating company, has spread to water purification (where P&G is also a player) and to children’s nutrition (where
other competitors have initiatives, too).
There is more to this, however, than the immediate bottom line. While C.K. Prahalad makes the case that there is a
fortune at the “bottom of the pyramid,” the experience of Unilever (and P&G) is that these are long term invest-
ments to unlock markets.
2
None of their efforts achieve accustomed hurdle rates of return on capital in the short
term. Our interviews with some 60 marketing experts, top executives, and citizenship specialists in Unilever, how-
ever, revealed broader, strategic motivations for “changing the game.” On the supply side, for instance, they point-
ed out that their capacity to grow is threatened by current environmental trends. Hence the global company has
launched multi-sector sustainability partnerships concerned with agriculture, fish, and water supply. As for demand,
they pointed to pandemic problems of both under- and over-nutrition (obesity) that beckon their know-how and that
of their competitors. Finally there is the question, as one executive put it, of “Who are we?” Unilever has embraced
a “vitality mission” and its corporate brand promise is to add vitality to life. Yet our interviewees find a gap between
who they say they are and what they produce. Today the company is experimenting with a “vitality check” for its
brands to certify their use of safe and healthy ingredients and their contribution to environmental and social sus-
tainability. Why? “We made a statement of ‘our purpose in being,’” said one business leader. “We can’t go back on
it. This is us.”
1
See Prahalad, C. K. and A. Hammonds. Serving the world’s poor, profitably. Harvard Business Review, (September, 2004).
2
Prahalad, C. K. The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid. (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Wharton School Publishing, 2005).
Transforming Stage
central to their mission and appeal to consumers. Ben
& Jerry’s credo, for instance, speaks of an economic,
product, and social mission and its product manufac-
ture, packaging, and marketing all designed for green
consumers. The cause-related marketing of the Body
Shop, the eco-friendly products of Patagonia and
Seventh Generation, and the socially responsible invest-
ing of Trillium Asset Management and other socially
responsible investment houses all give credence to the
maxim that you can both “do good” and “do well.”
Once at the margins of the marketplace, and frankly
ridiculed in many managerial circles, these kinds of
practices and the values that underlay them are making
their way into mainstream corporations. Leading phar-
maceuticals are giving away or offering discounts to the
developing world for drugs to treat river blindness
(Abbott), HIV-AIDS (Merck), leprosy (Novartis), and
diabetes (Novo Nordisk). Campaigns by Diageo on
responsible drinking, advertisements by Shell and BP
on environmental sustainability, and community
investment programs like Cisco System’s Networking
Academy all exemplify this mainstream emphasis.
It’s easy enough to pigeonhole these initiatives under
the labels of strategic philanthropy, cause-related mar-
keting, community relations, or employee volun-
teerism. But companies moving into this Transforming
Stage of citizenship have bigger aspiration to, in effect,
change the game of business. Their strategic intent is
to create new markets by fusing their citizenship and
business agenda.
Hewlett Packard, for example, has invested in digital
communities in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in villages in India
and South Africa, and in inner-city Baltimore to create
new market opportunities and promote community
economic development. On the business side of the
deal, HP has partnered with local business leaders,
community groups, and NGOs to create web-based
services for education, healthcare, and agriculture
needs. These efforts, led by the company’s emerging
market solutions team, aim to give HP “first mover”
skills, credibility, and advantage in reaching other
emerging markets. On the citizenship side, this is all
part of HP’s “e-inclusion” strategy to reduce the digital
divide.
29
A RESEARCH CENTER AT BOSTON COLLEGE • The Wallace E. Carroll School of Management • 13
Stages of Corporate Citizenship: A Developmental Framework
HP has fellow travelers heading in this direction.
Micro-chip maker AMD has launched a 50x15 strategy
where it aims to connect 50 percent of the world’s pop-
ulation to the internet by 2015. Finnish phone manu-
facturer Nokia has now reached 100,000 young people
around the world with e-learning curricula developed
by business partner Pearson publishing. Both
companies premise these investments on social benefit
and future sales. Nokia measures and evaluates its
programs in 17 countries where it has programs. Its
dashboard” records the number of beneficiaries
and gains in their life skills as well as the impact
on public opinion, brand reputation, and stakeholder
relationships.
Challenge: A schematic of these five stages of citizen-
ship and their developmental triggers might seem to
imply that perpetual transformation and multi-sector
partnering is the final stage of development. As valid as
that notion may be, it is only a place-marker because
scholars have not as yet mapped the many possible pat-
terns of transformation in companies and in their citi-
zenship agenda in these turbulent times. Conceptually,
this phase seems to pose yet another tension in compa-
nies—prior emphasis on integration and order has to
give way to differentiation and a bit of chaos as compa-
nies develop inter-organizational alliances and innovate
in new socio-economic spheres. This, in turn, raises
questions about the “business of business” in different
kinds of socio-economies and on stages in the further
development of citizenship in its multi-sector form.
30
Factors that shape citizenship
While the model presented here presents a normative
path in the development of citizenship in companies,
there are several factors that shape the specific trajecto-
ry within a firm. For one, varied forces in society, indus-
try dynamics, cross-sector influences, and certainly
leadership and a company’s culture all feature in how
citizenship develops in a specific firm.
31
Second, atti-
tudes and practices within a company are perforce
influenced by and contribute to trends in the larger and
fast moving field of corporate citizenship.
32
The ques-
tion at hand is whether there are particular patterns to
14 • THE CENTER FOR CORPORATE CITIZENSHIP AT BOSTON COLLEGE • www.bc.edu/corporatecitizenship
Stages of Corporate Citizenship: A Developmental Framework
the development of citizenship in firms of different
types and that operate in different environments. Here,
the research of The Center and of many others point to
some suggestive trends.
Factor: Founding Purpose and Time
Mirvis’ hands-on studies of Ben & Jerry’s through the
1980s, and The Body Shop, Esprit, Smith & Hawken,
Patagonia, and others, suggest that such firms founded
on principles of citizenship seem to hop over stages
marked typically by defensiveness and reactivity and
innovate in these areas from birth or early on.
33
Interestingly, the same might be have been said in the
1880s of U.K.-based Cadburys and Unilever, and U.S.-
based Hershey and Pullman. Does this mean that the
stage model does not apply to such firms?
Yes and no. Plainly in terms of their founders’ outlook
and corporate culture, these firms were rather like
prodigies when it comes to corporate citizenship: high-
ly receptive to the environment around them and cre-
atively entrepreneurial in response. To illustrate the
point, note that at least the modern-day “cause compa-
nies” were founded as the environmental movement
was born, where a growing segment of customers were
interested in “all natural” and “green” products, and
when heretofore counter-cultural movements began to
move into mainstream niches. The synchronistic fit
between internal predilections and external conditions
certainly affected the overall trajectory and pace of the
development of citizenship in these firms.
At the same time, there were gaps in the infrastructure
and capabilities of these firms that raised stage-based
tensions having to do with credibility, capacity, and ulti-
mately coherence and commitment. At Ben & Jerry’s,
for example, there was extended conflict over the intro-
duction of a cause-related product, “Peace Pops,” that
led the founders to revisit and revise their founding
principles and ultimately adopt their own version of the
triple bottom line.
34
Environmental damage by The
Body Shop USA, in turn, forced the company to sub-
stantially upgrade its eco-management systems.
35
Finally, poor business results have affected the agendas
of these still-progressive businesses. Ben & Jerry’s, for
instance, unable to raise enough capital to grow was
acquired by Unilever. And The Body Shop has scaled
back some of its cause-related marketing and the
prominence of its social campaigns, particularly in
non-U.K. retail stores.
A variety of other factors seem to have a bearing on the
path, pace, and progress of citizenship in firms. These
affect the development of citizenship in a company as
they put specific demands on a firm, influence its readi-
ness and reasons to respond, and either aid or impede
its capacities to deliver.
Factor: External Forces
There are several socio-economic and -political factors
that to some extent influence where companies lead in
developing citizenship and where they might lag. For
instance, companies that extract natural resources,
such as oil and timber companies, are monitored close-
ly by NGOs and find themselves more exposed on their
environmental performance. Risk management crite-
ria naturally dictate that they give greater attention to
environmental safeguards. Not surprisingly, the
Center’s annual scan finds that the policies, structures,
and metrics in Anglo-Australian Rio Tinto (mining),
Dupont (chemicals), and most oil-and-gas companies
are stronger and more elaborate in the environmental
arena than in, say, community affairs. Firms with a sig-
nificant supply chain or labor force in developing coun-
tries, such as Nike or Intel, attend more closely to work-
ing conditions and employment fairness. In turn, com-
panies like Unocal or Petro-Canada, whose business
brings them into contact with indigenous peoples, tend
to have sophisticated stakeholder and community con-
sultation systems.
Laws and regulations also influence how citizenship
develops in companies. Many U.S. banks, subject to
community banking provisions, have programs to pro-
vide loans and improve economic conditions in low-
income communities where they do business.
JPMorgan Chase, as one example, has a very well
regarded foundation and community banking arm. Its
community investments and volunteer programs are
notable, too. At this time, however, there is no unifying
concept of citizenship in the company and little has
been done to build connections among units and busi-
nesses that have citizenship responsibilities.
A RESEARCH CENTER AT BOSTON COLLEGE • The Wallace E. Carroll School of Management • 15
Stages of Corporate Citizenship: A Developmental Framework
Finally, the national origins of a company also figure
into its citizenship agenda—even for global firms. U.S.-
based business, for example, has longstanding phil-
anthropic tradition and most firms have active commu-
nity affairs programs—a product of U.S.-style capital-
ism.
36
Plus, local civic forces stimulate a company’s
charitable bent: through, for instance, membership in
the 5 percent club in Minneapolis (firms that give 5 per-
cent or more in pre-tax profits to charity), or in the
Boston Compact (business partnerships with the pub-
lic school system). In turn, employee volunteerism is
legion in the United States and U.S. firms overall see
more benefits from local community engagement than
do firms based in Europe or Asia.
37
By comparison, European-based companies are not
typically as engaged in local communities and their
employees are less apt to be volunteers; both are a
function of nation-states that assume many more
social welfare functions than in the United States. At
the same time, EU bodies such as the Brundtland
Commission have pushed for social reporting while
important public figures, such as the Prince of
Wales, have established forums to inculcate social
responsibility into U.K. businesses. As a result,
European firms are more apt to espouse integrative
citizenship concepts, like the triple bottom line, and
are well ahead of American firms in social and envi-
ronmental reporting.
38
Factor: Strategy and Competition
Strategic and competitive forces surely influence the
direction and pace of citizenship in companies—
increasingly so.
39
The Center’s 2003 State of Corporate
Citizenship survey found, for instance, that executives
in roughly half of the American companies sampled
say that their business strategy influences their citizen-
ship agenda. In the 2005 survey, that figure dropped
slightly to 44 percent.
IBM provides an interesting example. For many years,
the company has been a leading contributor and voice
in K-12 education in the United States. With globaliza-
tion, concern over the digital divide, and noteworthy
social investments and programs by HP, Cisco,
Microsoft, and others, IBM needed to re-think its citi-
zenship strategy. The result has been the rapid creation
of its “On Demand Community” that currently has
12,000 employee volunteers using IBM’s intranet, e-
tools, and technology planning expertise to assist
schools, community groups, and nonprofits all over the
world. IBM also supports the “Be Blue Every Day” cam-
paign designed to reinforce core values and get the cor-
porate brand behind employee volunteers.
The Center’s studies highlight industry influences on
citizenship. For instance, manufacturers put more
stress on workplace safety and health than in the serv-
ice sector where “family friendliness” is a higher prior-
ity. This reflects on both the nature of the workplace
and distinct makeup of the workforce in these two sec-
tors. In turn, firms in the service sector say that con-
sumers have more influence on corporate citizenship.
By comparison, manufacturing companies assign rela-
tively more influence to laws and political pressures.
On these counts, Jawahar and McLaughlin make the
case that an organization’s life stage influences who its
stakeholders are and how it responds to them.
40
This
is a promising line of inquiry that may help explain
some of the differences in citizenship found in compa-
nies in different industries and competitive contexts.
We have found that large companies (likely to be more
mature than smaller ones) report that government and
local community interests exert far more influence on
their business decisions and actions than do their
counterparts in small and mid-size companies. Plus
they are twice as likely to say that good citizenship is
expected in our community.” In addition, executives in
larger companies are much more likely than those in
smaller ones to agree that business should play an
active role in addressing global climate change, pover-
ty, hunger, and human rights. This agenda fits with
their scale, visibility, and comparative impact on soci-
ety. It is also in line with public expectations of big
business.
Interestingly, Sandra Waddock, extending Greiner’s
five-stage model of organization development, posits a
sixth stage where mature firms respond to their more
complex social, political, economic, and environmental
threats and opportunities by establishing “extra-organi-
zational” forms, such as partnerships with other busi-
nesses, governments, and civil society.
41
In support of
this, we find larger U.S. firms are much more apt than
16 • THE CENTER FOR CORPORATE CITIZENSHIP AT BOSTON COLLEGE • www.bc.edu/corporatecitizenship
Stages of Corporate Citizenship: A Developmental Framework
smaller ones to partner with nonprofits and govern-
ment. And they are two or three times more likely to
invest in poor communities (via targeted hiring, job
training, and facility location decisions) and to pur-
chase specifically from minority- or women-owned
suppliers.
Factor: Traditions and Culture
Some companies, such as Johnson & Johnson,
Herman Miller, and Timberland seem to have citizen-
ship DNA that keeps their values constant in the face of
changing economic, social, and ecological pressures.
J&J, for instance, doesn’t use a plethora of committees
or communications to align citizenship efforts
throughout the enterprise. According to Owen Rankin,
head of brand equity and president of J&J’s Pediatric
Institute, it relies on its corporate credo to ensure that
its businesses and people are motivated to “do the right
thing.”
Culture can, of course, also exert a drag on citizenship
activities. One in 10 business leaders we surveyed
reported that a lack of top management support was a
significant barrier to citizenship in their companies.
Compare, for instance, Exxon’s foot-dragging in
response to the Valdez tanker spill with Shell’s mea
culpa in response to its aforementioned twin calamities
in Nigeria and the North Sea. Shell’s top leaders at the
time, Cor Herkströtter and Mark Moody-Stuart, faced
WHAT DRIVES COMPANIES TO EMBRACE CORPORATE CITIZENSHIP?
Corporate citizenship “drivers” U.S. national survey, 2005
Internal motivators
Traditions and values Reputation/image Business strategy Recruit/retain employees
External pressures
Customers and consumers Expected in community Laws and political pressures
Source: The State of Corporate Citizenship in the U.S.: Business Perspective 2005
Center for Corporate Citizenship at Boston College, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Center for Corporate Citizenship and The Hitachi Foundation.
92%
74%
65%
55%
92%
74%
65%
A RESEARCH CENTER AT BOSTON COLLEGE • The Wallace E. Carroll School of Management • 17
Stages of Corporate Citizenship: A Developmental Framework
the crisis squarely and pledged to transform what they
called an “inward” and “arrogant” corporate giant into
a global citizen.
42
Exxon, by comparison, took a defen-
sive posture.
Factor: Leadership Matters
Finally, company leadership is a crucial factor in its cit-
izenship agenda. Our model sees leaders as increasing-
ly more informed and involved at each phase of devel-
opment, moving from a role as supporter, to steward, to
champion, and to visionary at the Transforming Stage.
Interestingly, Waddock posits that stage of social, emo-
tional, and moral development of top executives has a
lot to do with how far and how fast citizenship pro-
gresses in their companies.
43
However, results from our Executive Forum research
project reveal that progress can also be driven from
middle management and flow upward and out. In
firms such as AMD, Petro-Canada, and Agilent, for
example, the leaders of the community affairs depart-
ment, environmental management, and corporate
communication joined forces first, making the case for
connecting the dots” to senior management, and then
creating cross-functional coordinating committees.
Says AMD’s Phil Trowbridge, a Forum member from
an environmental, safety, and health function, “I’m not
sure if upper, upper management knows about the
Sustainability Advisory Group. We don’t necessarily
need them to know. This is just something we feel is
important to keep AMD on track.” At Agilent, as anoth-
er example, staff heads established a “community of
practice” among all interested in advancing corporate
citizenship in the company.
Furthermore, there are cases where citizenship devel-
ops from the bottom up in companies. Interestingly,
the World Economic Forum’s 2002 CEO survey identi-
fied employees as the key stakeholder exerting pressure
and providing incentives for socially responsible behav-
ior.
44
Unilever’s food business in Asia illustrates how
transformative employee involvement can be.
45
Annual gatherings of 250 Unilever employees, from
every layer in the business, have opened their eyes to
the needs of poor and rural communities for healthier
foods. After a series of community service programs, in
India and China, pressure came from the bottom up to
redefine the company’s business mission and address
the nutritional needs of the regions. Unilever Asia pres-
ident Tex Gunning has drawn from this energy to
launch a children’s nutrition campaign and partner
with UNICEF and Indian NGOs for implementation.
Said one employee, “With the kind of community
involvement and mission driven approach that we have
in Unilever Foods Asia, it is possible for us to make a
difference to our society and still be in business. And it
is important for us to be in business because that that
is the only way we will continue to make a difference to
society.”
Factor: Pull versus Push?
Looking to the field of practice, there are many other
forces worth noting that pull citizenship forward in a
company. Scandals, crises, and criticism by watchdogs
group or NGOs are among the most potent. The vari-
ous corporate reputation rankings, the Dow Jones sus-
tainability index, and the opinions of socially responsi-
ble funds also have a bearing on citizenship activity.
Legislation, or the threat of it, also exerts a pull.
46
Furthermore, new and emerging issues, expectations,
and definitions continuously reshape what it means for
a company to be engaged, innovative, and integrative
when it comes to citizenship. Indeed, many innovative
corporate actions in the 1980s, seemingly ahead of
their time, seem rather routine today. In addition, past
progress is no guarantee of continued success. For
instance, several companies once ahead of the curve on
citizenship are now on the defensive when it comes to
financial transparency and corporate governance.
As much as these external factors pull citizenship for-
ward in a company, we hypothesize that an internal
push is more predictive of sustained progress in a
firm. On this point, the Center’s 2005 survey of U.S.
business leaders finds that although external drivers
such as laws and political pressures, expectations of
customers and the community, and benefits to repu-
tation all exert influence on a company’s embrace of
citizenship, a more important driver seems to be
company traditions and values (see box on page 16).
18 • THE CENTER FOR CORPORATE CITIZENSHIP AT BOSTON COLLEGE • www.bc.edu/corporatecitizenship
Stages of Corporate Citizenship: A Developmental Framework
The future: unbounded or limited?
The foregoing may seem to imply that continuous
development of citizenship in an enterprise, albeit
scaled and shaped by the firm’s national origins, indus-
try, size, strategy, and competitive context, is potentially
unbounded. It may also suggest that the chief limiting
factors are the imagination of its leaders and progres-
siveness of its corporate culture. A competing case has
been made, however, that the market for virtue has real
limits and that citizenship only makes sense for “a sub-
set of companies, under specific circumstances.”
47
There is, of course, a body of literature on the general-
ly positive relationship between social and financial
performance.
48
But there are many counter examples
of companies with good reputations in citizenship who
are being outperformed financially by less progressive
competitors. Of particular relevance, given the develop-
ment frame here, is that there are also firms that have
made a conscious decision, in the face of a business
downturn, not to aggressively advance their citizenship
agenda and even to regress from a more advance stage
(Hewlett Packard).
We have posited here that challenges of credibility,
capacity, coherence, and commitment move firms to
develop progressively more comprehensive and inte-
grated citizenship agendas. Some might argue that
these limits to virtue and examples of regression cast
doubts on the whole development-of-citizenship logic.
On the contrary, we argue, there are countless exam-
ples of human and collective development taking a dif-
ferent turn when this proves more adaptive and, in par-
ticular, when survival is at stake.
In that context, it is our hope that practitioners make
use of the stage model as they calibrate where their
companies are today and choose where they ought to
go. Some may favor the decisively cautious, even
regressive thinking featured in a 2005 cover story in
The Economist that challenged the case for corporate
social responsibility or follow Nestlé’s CEO, who in
remarks at the Boston College CEO Forum, derided the
notion that business ought to “give back to society.”
49
Others may adopt the emphasis of McKinsey manag-
ing director Ian Davies who, in a rejoinder to The
Economist, argued that business should build social
issues into its strategies, as the higher stage practices
cited here prescribe.
50
Our bet is that the latter group
of firms will, on the whole, have greater financial suc-
cess and that its people will derive more meaning from
the effort.
A RESEARCH CENTER AT BOSTON COLLEGE • The Wallace E. Carroll School of Management • 19
Stages of Corporate Citizenship: A Developmental Framework
1
Research includes surveys of public opinion and of business lead-
ers (The State of Corporate Citizenship in the U.S.: A view from inside
2003-2004. (Boston: Center for Corporate Citizenship at Boston
College, 2004)); a multi-year research forum involving Abbott,
AMD, Agilent, JP Morgan Chase, Levi Strauss & Co., Petro-Canada,
and Verizon (Integration: Critical link for Corporate Citizenship.
(Boston: Center for Corporate Citizenship at Boston College,
2005); a measurement forum including IBM, GE, 3M, FedEx,
Diageo, Cargill, Manpower, Omron, GM, and Cemex (Putting the
Corporate into Corporate Responsibility. London: Accountability
Forum, 2005); and several case studies (for a description, see
http://www.bc.edu/centers/ccc/Pages/kn_ld.html).
2
Mirvis, P. H. and Googins, B. “The Best of the Good.” Harvard
Business Review. (December, 2004): 20-21. Based on The State of
Corporate Citizenship in the U.S., op cit.
3
See Piaget, J. The Psychology of the Child. (New York: John Wiley,
1969); Wheelan, S. A. Group Processes: A Developmental Perspective.
(Sydney: Allyn & Bacon, 2004).
4
Greiner, L. “Evolution and Revolution as Organizations Grow.”
Harvard Business Review. (July-August, 1972): 37-46.
5
On evolution of the concepts, see Frederick, W.C. “Theories of
Corporate Social Performance,” Business and Society, (Lexington,
MA: D.C. Heath, 1987: 142-161); Wood, D.J. “Corporate Social
Performance Revisited”, Academy of Management Review, 16/4
(1991): 171-181; Gladwin, T. N., J. J. Kennelly, and T. S. Krause, T.-S.
Shifting paradigms for sustainable development: Implications for
management theory and research. Academy of Management
Review, (20/4, 1995): 874-907; and Hart, S. L. “Beyond Greening:
Strategies for a Sustainable World.” Harvard Business Review.
(January-February, 1997): 66-76
6
On diffusion into society and industry, see Elkington, J. Cannibals
with Forks: The Triple-Bottom Line of 21st Century Business. (London:
Capstone/John Wiley, 1997); and Shrivastava, P. “Corporate Self-
Greenewal: Strategic Responses to Environmentalism”, Business
Strategy and the Environment, 1/3, (1992): 9-21.
7
Post, J. and Altman, B. “Models of Corporate Greening: How
Corporate Social Policy and Organizational Learning Inform
Leading Edge Environmental Management,” Research in Corporate
Social Performance and Policy, 13, (1992): 3-29.
8
Zadek, S. “The Path to Corporate Responsibility.” Harvard
Business Review. (December, 2004): 125-133.
9
Developmental theories typically involve both natural and logical
processes. Natural processes, found in most biological stages-of-
growth theories, trace the developmental trajectory to the “poten-
tials” within an organism or entity. Logical process models stress
equally the nature of forces impinging on the organism or entity
(different problems pose different challenges) and apply more
often to the development of ideas, decisions, language and sym-
bols. In both cases, however, development is seen as regulated by
an “immanent” or normative program. See Van de Ven, A. H. And
Poole, M. S. “Explaining Development and Change in
Organizations.”
Academy of Management Review, 20, (1995):
510-540.
10
Vogel, D. The Market for Virtue: The Potential and Limits of
Corporate Responsibility (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution
Press, 2005).
11
Theories of planned change and organization learning, by com-
parison, trace organization development more so to a cycle of goal
setting, action, and assessment, where problem solving can gener-
ate novel and innovative solutions as well as resistance to change.
This implies that there can be multiple paths of development and
that the choice of a particular path hinges on the nature of the
problem posed and characteristics of the problem solving entity.
See Van de Ven and Poole, op cit.; Adizes, I. Managing Corporate
Lifecycles. (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, revised 1999).
12
Rothman, H and Scott, C. Companies with a Conscience, 3rd
Edition (San Francisco, Myers Templeton Publishers, 2004).
13
Friedman, M. The social responsibility of business is to increase
its profits. New York Times, September, 13, 1970.
14
Welch, J. Jack: Straight From the Gut. (New York: Warner
Business Books, 2003).
1
5Millennium Report. (Toronto: Environics, 1999; 2003).
16
The State of Corporate Citizenship in the U.S. op. cit.
17
Putting this promise into practice took time and involved
missteps. It took over four years, for example, to fully enlist senior
management and for DuPont to form an executive-level
Environmental Policy Committee; and then another four, and new
CEO, to embrace principles of sustainability.
18
Zadeck. op. cit.
19
For a recent review, see Margolis, J. D. and Walsh, J. P. People
and Profits? The Search for a Link between a Company's Social and
Financial Performance. (Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates,
2001)
20
The World Economic Forum’s 2002 Global CEO survey found
that over 80 percent agree that corporate citizenship is essential
to “managing reputation and brand equity.” Responding to the
Leadership Challenge: Findings of a CEO Survey on Global Corporate
Citizenship. (Geneva: World Economic Forum, 2002).
21
2003 Sustainability Assessment. (Zurich: Sustainability Asset
Management, 2003).
22
Early adopters often embrace innovations based on their logic
and appeal to values, rather than evidence or demonstrated
success. On this trend in human resource innovations, see Mirvis,
P. H. “Human resource management: Leaders, followers and lag-
gards.” Academy of Management Executive, (11/2, 1997): 43-56.
Endnotes
20 • THE CENTER FOR CORPORATE CITIZENSHIP AT BOSTON COLLEGE • www.bc.edu/corporatecitizenship
Stages of Corporate Citizenship: A Developmental Framework
23
The web site include 130 questions—that range from food safety
and human resource policies to the environment and relationships
with suppliers—that Group companies are asked to complete to
assess their own performance. www.danone.com.
24
This charter is integrated into the company culture through
extensive management and employee training, a monthly newslet-
ter, and an innovative “live the brand” campaign whereby all
employees are expected to spend at least one day every year with
someone connected to Novo’s mission to treat diabetes—either a
patient, family member who cares for them, or health care profes-
sional. Employees are expected to then prepare a report of obser-
vations and suggestions for improving the way the company does
business.
25
Quoted in Beyond the Numbers, (KPMG: 2004).
26
Hollender, J. What Matters Most. (New York: Basic Books,
2003).
27
Cox, K. Leadership for Global Sustainability. (Doctoral
Dissertation. Benedictine College, 2005); Also see Hollender, J.
“What Matters Most: Corporate Values and Social Responsibility.”
California Management Review. 46/4 (2004): 111-119
28
Zadek, op cit.
29
Dunn, D. and K. Yamashita. “Microcapitalism and the
Megacorporation.” Harvard Business Review, (August, 2003).
30
For one model of intersectoral stages, see Business and
Community Development: Aligning Corporate Performance with
Community Economic Development to Achieve Win-Win Impacts.
(Boston: Center for Corporate Citizenship at Boston College,
2002).
31
For a useful review on the mechanisms of influence, see Van de
Ven, A. and Hargrave, T. J. “Social, Technical, and Institutional
Change.” In Van de Ven, A. and Poole, M. S. Handbook of
Organizational Change and Innovation. (New York: Oxford
University Press, 2004): 259-303.
32
Institutional theory distinguishes between coercive, normative,
and mimetic (imitative) pressures. See Powell, W. A. and
DiMaggio, P. J. (eds.). The New Institutionalism in Organizational
Analysis. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991). The link to
developmental theory is that organizations may be more or less
attentive and able to respond to these institutional forces at differ-
ent stages of development.
33
Mirvis, P. H. “Environmentalism in Progressive Businesses.”
Journal of Organizational Change Management, 7/4, (1994): 82-100.
34
See Mirvis, P.H. Ben & Jerry’s: “Team development intervention
(A and B).” In A. Glassman and T. Cummings (eds.) Cases in
Organization Development. (Homewood, IL: Irwin, 1991).
35
Entine, J. “The Stranger than Truth Story of the Body Shop.” In
Killed: Great Journalism Too Hot to Print. (New York: Nation Books,
June, 2004).
36
Some contend that this a function of the distinct stakeholder envi-
ronment in the U.S. See, for example, Brammer, S. and Pavelin, S.
“Corporate Community Contributions in the United Kingdom and
United States. Journal of Business Ethics. 56/1 (2005): 15-26.
37
On components of corporate value statements in U.S.,
European, and Asian companies and relative emphasis given to
environmental and social performance, see Kelly, C., P. Kocourek,
N. McGaw, and J. Samuelson, Deriving Value from Corporate Values,
(Washington DC: The Aspen Institute and Booz Allen Hamilton,
2005).
38
Some 68 percent of large companies in Western Europe versus
41 percent in the U. S. report triple bottom line information. Social
Reporting Fact Sheet. op. cit.; “Toward Transparency: Progress on
Global Sustainability Reporting 2004.” www.corporateregister.com.
39
See Vogel, D. The Market for Virtue: The Potential and Limits of
Corporate Responsibility (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution
Press, 2005).
40
Jawahar, I. M. and Mclaughlin, Gary L. “Toward A Descriptive
Stakeholder Theory: An Organizational Life Cycle Approach.”
Academy of Management Review, 26/3 (2001):
39
7-415.
41
Waddock, S. Leading Corporate Citizens: Visions, values, value
added. New York: McGraw-Hill Irwin, 2002.
42
See Mirvis, (2000), op. cit.
43
Waddock, (2002), op. cit.
44
Responding to the Leadership Challenge (2002), op cit.
45
Ayas, K. and P. H. Mirvis, “Bringing Mission to Life: Corporate
Inspiration from Visiting Communities in India.” Reflections, (5/10,
2004): 1-12.
46
Companies that are based in or do business in Europe now have
to comply with many more laws around employment, environmen-
tal protection, and even community welfare than do U.S. domestic
corporations. Interestingly, surveys show that U.S. companies,
even those most developed in this arena, are near unanimous in
their belief that “corporate citizenship should be completely volun-
tary—no laws should govern it.”
47
Vogel, D. “The Low Value of Virtue.” Harvard Business Review,
(June, 2005).
48
See Orlitzky, M., Schmidt, F. L. and Rynes, S. L. “Corporate
Social and Financial Performance: A Meta-analysis.” Organization
Studies. 24/3 (2003): 403–441; Margolis and Walsh, op. cit.
49
“Survey: Corporate Social Responsibility.” The Economist.
(January 20, 2005); Brabeck-Letmans, P. from speech to Chief
Executives’ Club of Boston (March 8, 2005).
50
Davies, I. “The Biggest Contract.” The Economist. (May 26, 2005)
A RESEARCH CENTER AT BOSTON COLLEGE • The Wallace E. Carroll School of Management
Stages of Corporate Citizenship: A Developmental Framework
Bradley K. Googins, Ph.D. is Executive Director of The Center
for Corporate Citizenship at Boston College and holds the
position of Associate Professor of Organizational Studies,
the Carroll School of Management at Boston College.
He sits on the review boards of The Journal of Corporate
Citizenship and the New Academy Review and is the author
of several books and monographs. He serves on the boards
of Bright Horizons, Inc., Corporate Voices, and the Brazilian
research and education center Uni-Ethos. Before joining The
Center in 1997, Dr. Googins founded The Center for Work
and Family at Boston University and was also a National
Kellogg Fellow.
Dr. Googins holds a Ph.D. in Social Policy from The Heller
Graduate School at Brandeis University, a M.S.W. in social
work, community organization and social planning, from
Boston College, and a B.A. in philosophy and sociology from
Boston College.
The Center for Corporate Citizenship at Boston College, a membership-based research
organization, is committed to helping business leverage its social, economic and human assets to ensure
both its success and a more just and sustainable world. As a leading resource on corporate citizenship, The
Center works with global corporations to help them define, plan and operationalize their corporate citizen-
ship. Through the power of research, executive education and the insights of its 350 corporate members, The
Center creates knowledge, value and demand for corporate citizenship.
The Center offers publications including a newsletter, research reports, and white papers; executive educa-
tion, including a Certificate program; events that include an annual conference, roundtables and regional
meetings; and a corporate membership program.
www.bc.edu/corporatecitizenship
Authors
Copyright 2006. The Center for Corporate Citizenship at Boston College. All rights reserved.
Philip Mirvis, Ph.D. is an organizational psychologist whose
research and private practice concerns large-scale organiza-
tional change, the character of the workforce and workplace,
and the role of business in society. A consultant to business-
es in the U.S., Europe, and Asia, he has authored eight
books on his studies including
The Cynical Americans (social
trends),
Building the Competitive Workforce (human capital),
and
Joining Forces (the human side of mergers). His most
recent is a business transformation story,
To the Desert and
Back
. Mirvis is a research fellow of the Work/Family
Roundtable, The Center for Corporate Citizenship at Boston
College, and Corporate Branding Initiative, a board member
of the Foundation for Community Encouragement, and a
trustee of the Society for Organization Learning.
Dr. Mirvis has a B.A. from Yale University and a Ph.D. in
Organizational Psychology from the University of Michigan.
He has taught at Boston University and been visiting faculty
at Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China and the London
Business School. His writings on citizenship have appeared
in
Harvard Business Review, Journal of Business & Society, and
California Management Review (in press)
, among others.
Stages of Corporate Citizenship: A Developmental Framework
A Research Report and Tool Kit by The Center for Corporate Citizenship at Boston College • 2004
The Center for Corporate Citizenship at Boston College • 55 Lee Road • Chestnut Hill, MA 02467-3942
www.bc.edu/corporatecitizenship
A Monograph by The Center for Corporate Citizenship at Boston College • 2006
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Conference Paper
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Sustainability demands boards to be intrinsically motivated. Translating the sustainability agenda into measurable social and environmental outcomes implies a behavioral transformation on the individual, group, and organizational levels. Focusing only on regulatory requirements, ESG metrics, and corporate reputation does not lead to the genuine commitment of board members to enhance the organization's sustainability. Embedding sustainability into the organization's business model and strategy calls for the board's commitment and impactful actions. Therefore, this study attempts to provide new insights on how boards could enhance their sustainability engagement and performance by developing and demonstrating specific leadership behaviors. For this purpose, a literature review has been conducted. To draw on the premises of stakeholder theory and selected leadership constructs, the method of theory synthesis was used. This study builds on and extends the existing leadership and corporate governance literature by providing a conceptual framework that links sustainability leadership and board dimensions: purpose and authenticity, power and responsibility, and process and transformation. It proposes the initial assessment questions for each dimension. The proposed conceptual and assessment frameworks offer practical implications for various stakeholders. Board members can use them as self-assessment and development tools that can enhance their sustainability engagement and leadership behaviors. Based on these frameworks, human resources management could define sustainability competencies to be considered in board recruitment, assessment, development, and succession. Leadership and organizational development specialists could also use these guidelines to design and implement sustainability leadership development programs. By offering a novel perspective that links sustainability efforts and leadership behaviors of boards, these research contributions could inspire organizations to move beyond compliance-oriented sustainability toward genuine sustainability. Future research could be directed at validating the proposed conceptual framework by conducting qualitative and quantitative studies to explore the board members' perceptions and views on specific leadership behaviors in the context of the sustainability agenda.
... In the current global economic order, organizations have a myriad of obligations toward a wide scope of stakeholders, which can potentially have conflicting needs, goals, aspirations, and expectations, that nonetheless need to be accessed and considered with the goal of a win-win outcome. Hence organizations today are impelled to act, develop, and expand toward serving the greater good of the overall society rather than merely satisfying the demands of their shareholders (Fernandez, Kullu, & Shankar, 2020;Galpin & Whittington, 2012;Mirvis & Googins, 2006;Peterlin et al., 2015). ...
Chapter
Economic activity is an important area in terms of innovation and sustainable development, and the instruments and mechanisms of the financial market are gaining new value for financing these particularly complex processes and with many challenges for stakeholders (Stancu & Iacovoiu, 2015; Iacovoiu & Stancu, 2017). Globally, the financial market is crucial to the smooth operation of capitalist economies, as it provides a regulated platform for trading all types of assets or securities, such as stocks, bonds, foreign currency, and derivatives (Johnson et al., 2003; Duffie, 2014). Financial market comprise banking, insurance, and capital markets. The capital market segment provides a platform for buyers and sellers (as individuals and institutions) to trade financial securities such as bonds and stocks (The Economic Times, 2021). The money market, by contrast, is the platform for trading in financial instruments, essentially commercial papers with high liquidity and short-term maturities (The Economic Times, 2021). The globalization and emergence of digitaltechnologies are disrupting all facets of the global economy, including financial market operations and instruments (Brezeanu et al., 2005; Stancu et al., 2017). Consequently, the financial market is one of the most attractive and constantly changing areas of economic life, continually pursuing the improvement and accessibility of instruments offered to investors, adapting these products to the needs of users through the emergence of new financial products, simplifying trading activities, reducing trading costs, and so on.
... The key drivers were market positioning, ethical commitment, requirements emanated from their customers, etc. [38]. Mirvis & Googins [39] asserted that laws and regulatory frameworks, as well as customers, contribute to a company's CSR development. Valor [40] categorized the drivers into two: the internal driving forces and the external driving forces. ...
Research
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The construction industry had been foot-dragging in the improvement of its socio-environmental development. In addressing this issue, there is a need to examine the corporate social responsibility (CSR) of construction companies in the industry. Hence, this study assessed CSR initiatives; and examined factors influencing CSR implementation in the study area. A descriptive research design was adopted in which questionnaires were administered to administrative and executory managers in the construction industry. A total of three hundred and two (302) construction companies were identified and administered copies of the questionnaire for this study. One hundred and four (104) valid copies were completed and returned, representing a response rate of 34%. Percentage distribution, mean score, and spearman's correlation were used to analyse the collected data. The findings of this study indicated that the overall level of implementing CSR initiatives by the surveyed companies is average. Although many of the initiatives were practiced, employees' interests were given more attention over community development and environmental protection. In addition, the study established the vision of the founder, better employee satisfaction, investment attraction, and creating public attention as the key motivating/driving factors influencing CSR implementation. Conversely, the predominant barrier inhibiting the implementation of CSR in the study area is corruption. Lastly, there exists no significant difference between the opinions of the managers surveyed. This study concluded that the implementation of CSR initiatives is not fully embraced and that the most important CSR initiative implemented by the construction companies is more of 'employees interests', which is a social project in nature. In addition, while successfully implementing CSR initiatives by the construction companies surveyed depending on the vision of the founder, better employee satisfaction, and investment attraction, the key inhibiting factor is corruption practices.
... Scholars have begun to evaluate the emergence of CSR within current strategic policies. These investigations are built upon requests for inquiry as to how things work when CSR is introduced in a company (Mirvis and Googins, 2007). Previously, internal and external determinants of social change in an enterprise, as well as the structure of CSR programs and policies have been studied (Russo and Tencati, 2009). ...
Article
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The pandemic has impacted various industries, including the sports industry. However, corporate social responsibility (CSR) can mitigate the adverse effects of the crisis and promote the sports industry. To analyze the effect of CSR, the study examined the impact of perceived corporate social responsibility on injury prevention expectation, injury risk perception, and health up-gradation with the mediation of sports safety measures. There are 259 sportsmen of local sports bodies provided the data through a self-administered survey. Data analysis was conducted through Smart-PLS and SEM techniques. The outcome of the analysis showed that perceived corporate social responsibility leads to injury prevention expectation, injury risk perception, and health up-gradation. Also, the study found that sports safety measure mediates the relationship between perceived corporate social responsibility and injury prevention expectation, between perceived corporate social responsibility and injury risk perception, and between perceived corporate social responsibility and health up-gradation among sportsmen of local sports bodies. The theoretical implications were presented related to the significance of CSR and sports safety measure and their impact on sportsmen injury prevention expectation, health, and risk perception. The practical implications were related to the management of local sports bodies and how they can induce CSR initiatives and programs. Some limitations related to sample size, incorporating other variables, examining the model in other contexts, and using different study designs, have also been mentioned in the study.
... Four strategically different options were identified by Galbreath (2006): the citizen strategy, established within the objectives of accountability, sustainability and transparency and with which a company can achieve both the growth of intangible assets and tangible assets; the mutual strategy, through which companies could establish mutually beneficial partnerships with stakeholders through which in the medium and long term the company could achieve an optimization of financial performance; altruistic strategy, through which a company, in different periods, can contribute to actions of a philanthropic nature, actions that do not bring financially and immediately any measurable and identifiable benefit for the corporation; and the shareholders' strategy is focused on financial objectives that are responsible in the short term for maximizing profits. Five distinct evolutionary stages were identified by Mirvis and Googins (2006) in the process of integrating corporate strategy and social responsibility based on seven variables: transparency, stakeholder relations, problem management, structure, leadership support, purpose and definition. approach is adopted, focused exclusively on contextual conditions (organizational and strategic) as well as on the processes of change of the strategic approaches in which the respective processes take place but also on the formation of the strategy or a static approach is adopted, mainly focused on the content. ...
Article
Based on the strategic management processes, it is particularly necessary to initiate but also develop a connection between CSR integration through a dynamic approach and the social philosophy of management, a systematic analysis of the processes that strategically manage CSR and the socially oriented implementation of the topic strategic integration of CSR. Related to these research topics we need to know closely the strategic management processes that integrate CSR, how they work, what influences strategic change and especially how we can define the management tools used to support the implementation of social management philosophy. In this sense, it is absolutely necessary to initiate a theoretical model that highlights, from an organic point of view but also structurally, the dynamics of the relations supported by the philosophy of social management.
... The key drivers were market positioning, ethical commitment, requirements emanated from their customers, etc. [38]. Mirvis & Googins [39] asserted that laws and regulatory frameworks, as well as customers, contribute to a company's CSR development. Valor [40] categorized the drivers into two: the internal driving forces and the external driving forces. ...
Article
Full-text available
The construction industry had been foot-dragging in the improvement of its socio-environmental development. In addressing this issue, there is a need to examine the corporate social responsibility (CSR) of construction companies in the industry. Hence, this study assessed CSR initiatives; and examined factors influencing CSR implementation in the study area. A descriptive research design was adopted in which questionnaires were administered to administrative and executory managers in the construction industry. A total of three hundred and two (302) construction companies were identified and administered copies of the questionnaire for this study. One hundred and four (104) valid copies were completed and returned, representing a response rate of 34%. Percentage distribution, mean score, and spearman's correlation were used to analyse the collected data. The findings of this study indicated that the overall level of implementing CSR initiatives by the surveyed companies is average. Although many of the initiatives were practiced, employees' interests were given more attention over community development and environmental protection. In addition, the study established the vision of the founder, better employee satisfaction, investment attraction, and creating public attention as the key motivating/driving factors influencing CSR implementation. Conversely, the predominant barrier inhibiting the implementation of CSR in the study area is corruption. Lastly, there exists no significant difference between the opinions of the managers surveyed. This study concluded that the implementation of CSR initiatives is not fully embraced and that the most important CSR initiative implemented by the construction companies is more of 'employees interests', which is a social project in nature. In addition, while successfully implementing CSR initiatives by the construction companies surveyed depending on the vision of the founder, better employee satisfaction, and investment attraction, the key inhibiting factor is corruption practices.
... SLIKA 1: Položaj zaposlenih in njihovih družin v poslovnem okolju podjetja V preteklosti smo kot družbeno odgovornost podjetij pojmovali zgolj občasne fi nančne prispevke dobrodelnim organizacijam, danes pa jo razumemo kot vključevanje načel trajnostnega razvoja v vse ključne poslovne procese in funkcije v podjetju, med katere sodi tudi omogočanje usklajevanja dela in zasebnega življenja (Kanjuo Mrčela in Černigoj Sadar, 2007). Mirvis in Googins (2006) sta družbeno odgovornost razdelila na pet stopenj: osnovna, angažirana, inovativna, integrirana in transformativna. Razvoj družbene odgovornosti v podjetjih vidita kot proces, kjer podjetja na prvi stopnji skrbijo za legalno poslovanje in izpolnjevanje zakonskih obveznosti, na drugi stopnji se ukvarjajo predvsem s fi lantropijo in varovanjem okolja, na tretji stopnji aktivno upravljajo z vsemi deležniki podjetja, na četrti stopnji proaktivno sodelujejo pri reševanju problemov v svojem okolju, na najvišji stopnji družbene odgovornosti pa povzročajo temeljite spremembe v okolju in družbi. ...
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Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is not a new idea. However, CSR has never been more prominent on the corporate agenda than it is today. This article examines the pressures for increased corporate attention to CSR and whether this attention is warranted and likely to be sustained. It differentiates between the business case for CSR and the normative case and concludes that often there may be a compelling business case for making a substantial commitment to CSR, but an individual firm must assess the extent to which the general business case for CSR applies to its specific circumstances. For some firms, CSR may be a major influence on corporate strategy. Companies making a substantial commitment to CSR—because of a business or a normative case—are likely to find that this involves major challenges with respect to the formulation and implementation of CSR strategy, not least because of the uncertainties inevitably associated with determining a firm's societal obligations.
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