Behind the Mask

Revealing the True Face of Corporate Citizenship

Dirk Matten, Andrew Crane, Wendy Chapple

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

227 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This paper traces the development of corporate citizenship as a way of framing business and society relations, and critically examines the content of contemporary understandings of the term. These conventional views of corporate citizenship are argued to contribute little or nothing to existing notions of corporate social responsibility and corporate philanthropy. The paper then proposes a new direction, which particularly exposes the element of "citizenship". Being a political concept, citizenship can only be reasonably understood from that theoretical angle. This suggests that citizenship consists of a bundle of rights conventionally granted and protected by governments of states. However, the more that governmental power and sovereignty have come under threat, the more that relevant political functions have gradually shifted towards the corporate sphere - and it is at this point where "corporate" involvement into "citizenship" becomes an issue. Consequently, "corporate citizens" are substantially more than fellow members of the same community who cosily rub shoulders with other fellow citizens while bravely respecting those other citizens' rights and living up to their own responsibility as corporations - as the conventional rhetoric wants us to believe. Behind this relatively innocuous mask then, the true face of corporate citizenship suggests that the corporate role in contemporary citizenship is far more profound, and ultimately in need of urgent reappraisal.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-120
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
Volume45
Issue number1-2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2003

Keywords

  • Business and government
  • Corporate citizenship
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Globalization
  • Human rights
  • Stakeholder theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Law

Cite this

Behind the Mask : Revealing the True Face of Corporate Citizenship. / Matten, Dirk; Crane, Andrew; Chapple, Wendy.

In: Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 45, No. 1-2, 01.06.2003, p. 109-120.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Matten, Dirk ; Crane, Andrew ; Chapple, Wendy. / Behind the Mask : Revealing the True Face of Corporate Citizenship. In: Journal of Business Ethics. 2003 ; Vol. 45, No. 1-2. pp. 109-120.
@article{5e439b719f47470ba407d4a3b8dc6a20,
title = "Behind the Mask: Revealing the True Face of Corporate Citizenship",
abstract = "This paper traces the development of corporate citizenship as a way of framing business and society relations, and critically examines the content of contemporary understandings of the term. These conventional views of corporate citizenship are argued to contribute little or nothing to existing notions of corporate social responsibility and corporate philanthropy. The paper then proposes a new direction, which particularly exposes the element of {"}citizenship{"}. Being a political concept, citizenship can only be reasonably understood from that theoretical angle. This suggests that citizenship consists of a bundle of rights conventionally granted and protected by governments of states. However, the more that governmental power and sovereignty have come under threat, the more that relevant political functions have gradually shifted towards the corporate sphere - and it is at this point where {"}corporate{"} involvement into {"}citizenship{"} becomes an issue. Consequently, {"}corporate citizens{"} are substantially more than fellow members of the same community who cosily rub shoulders with other fellow citizens while bravely respecting those other citizens' rights and living up to their own responsibility as corporations - as the conventional rhetoric wants us to believe. Behind this relatively innocuous mask then, the true face of corporate citizenship suggests that the corporate role in contemporary citizenship is far more profound, and ultimately in need of urgent reappraisal.",
keywords = "Business and government, Corporate citizenship, Corporate social responsibility, Globalization, Human rights, Stakeholder theory",
author = "Dirk Matten and Andrew Crane and Wendy Chapple",
year = "2003",
month = "6",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1023/A:1024128730308",
language = "English",
volume = "45",
pages = "109--120",
journal = "Journal of Business Ethics",
issn = "0167-4544",
publisher = "Springer Netherlands",
number = "1-2",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Behind the Mask

T2 - Revealing the True Face of Corporate Citizenship

AU - Matten, Dirk

AU - Crane, Andrew

AU - Chapple, Wendy

PY - 2003/6/1

Y1 - 2003/6/1

N2 - This paper traces the development of corporate citizenship as a way of framing business and society relations, and critically examines the content of contemporary understandings of the term. These conventional views of corporate citizenship are argued to contribute little or nothing to existing notions of corporate social responsibility and corporate philanthropy. The paper then proposes a new direction, which particularly exposes the element of "citizenship". Being a political concept, citizenship can only be reasonably understood from that theoretical angle. This suggests that citizenship consists of a bundle of rights conventionally granted and protected by governments of states. However, the more that governmental power and sovereignty have come under threat, the more that relevant political functions have gradually shifted towards the corporate sphere - and it is at this point where "corporate" involvement into "citizenship" becomes an issue. Consequently, "corporate citizens" are substantially more than fellow members of the same community who cosily rub shoulders with other fellow citizens while bravely respecting those other citizens' rights and living up to their own responsibility as corporations - as the conventional rhetoric wants us to believe. Behind this relatively innocuous mask then, the true face of corporate citizenship suggests that the corporate role in contemporary citizenship is far more profound, and ultimately in need of urgent reappraisal.

AB - This paper traces the development of corporate citizenship as a way of framing business and society relations, and critically examines the content of contemporary understandings of the term. These conventional views of corporate citizenship are argued to contribute little or nothing to existing notions of corporate social responsibility and corporate philanthropy. The paper then proposes a new direction, which particularly exposes the element of "citizenship". Being a political concept, citizenship can only be reasonably understood from that theoretical angle. This suggests that citizenship consists of a bundle of rights conventionally granted and protected by governments of states. However, the more that governmental power and sovereignty have come under threat, the more that relevant political functions have gradually shifted towards the corporate sphere - and it is at this point where "corporate" involvement into "citizenship" becomes an issue. Consequently, "corporate citizens" are substantially more than fellow members of the same community who cosily rub shoulders with other fellow citizens while bravely respecting those other citizens' rights and living up to their own responsibility as corporations - as the conventional rhetoric wants us to believe. Behind this relatively innocuous mask then, the true face of corporate citizenship suggests that the corporate role in contemporary citizenship is far more profound, and ultimately in need of urgent reappraisal.

KW - Business and government

KW - Corporate citizenship

KW - Corporate social responsibility

KW - Globalization

KW - Human rights

KW - Stakeholder theory

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=0043047456&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1023/A:1024128730308

DO - 10.1023/A:1024128730308

M3 - Article

VL - 45

SP - 109

EP - 120

JO - Journal of Business Ethics

JF - Journal of Business Ethics

SN - 0167-4544

IS - 1-2

ER -