Sector-based corporate citizenship

Business Ethics 19 (1):1-13 (2009)
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Abstract

This paper approaches the much-debated issue of corporate citizenship (CC). Many models depict the development process of CC, and yet attempts to find one extensive definition remain in progress. We argue that more than one type of citizenship may be needed to fully describe the concept. So far, social factors have dominated the definitions of CC, but citizenship functions can also be found in other areas. In fact, for maximum benefit, the type of citizenship should be tied to the sector and business field of the corporation in question. Using data drawn from three internationally operating corporations headquartered in Finland, we introduce three different types of CC that are in line with their core business ideas: cultural citizenship, environmental citizenship and technological citizenship. These new types of citizenships can help in grasping the complexity of business responsibility and ethics, and offer tools for gaining competitive advantage by differentiation.

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