Corporate citizenship in the global context : a strategic approach

Scheepers, Gideon Jacobus (2004-12)

Thesis (MBA)--Stellenbosch University, 2004.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The world has seen a wave of globalization since the demise of communism in East Europe in the late 19805, unimaginable a generation ago. A new world order has emerged, driven by a renewed trust in the free market ideology, and largely shaped by global corporations and international trade. Moreover, new technologies and instant communication have the potential to redefine peoples' life, at work and at home. Modern business has experienced dramatic and often turbulent changes in the global arena too, presenting ongoing challenges to managers as well as the ability to think and act globally. Although some companies and nations may have benefited from this scenario, other sections of the global community did not. In a world where starvation and poverty are part of the daily existence of millions of people across the globe, there is a growing concern about the direction of globalization. Over the past few years, meetings of leaders from industrialized nations and international governmental organizations have often been marked by protest actions against the growing socio-economic disparity between developed and developing nations. While world leaders across the spectrum continue their efforts to find solutions for unstable financial systems and an unequal global trade regime that generates intense political tensions, global corporations often find themselves at the centre of these debates. But there is a growing acceptance among the business community that they too have to find solutions for socia-economic and other ethical issues. Not surprisingly, though, since the business implications of these issues are best understood by business leaders. For some time now, academics and corporate managers have studied the changing role of business in society, accepting the notion that modem business does not operate in isolation. Although corporations are still allowed to generate a return on investment, more and more emphasis is now being placed on their responsibilities with regard to society and the environment in which they operate. There is also a growing acceptance that global corporations cannot continue to benefit from open global trade without acknowledging - and responding to - their social responsibilities. It comes as no surprise then to note that the Utriple bottom line ~ concept receives increased attention in company reports across the globe. Some multinational companies go even fu rther by publishing sustainable development reports, which publicly disclose their performances with regard to issues which are of concern to society and the environment. By doing so, those businesses admit that they are in fact global corporate citizens, with an unconditional commitment to behave like any other responsible citizen. Although good governance, business ethics, corporate social responsibility and sustainable development are all important for responsible corporate citizenship, managers need to value the strategic benefits of corporate citizenship. A strategic approach to corporate citizenship also suggests a need for a corporate citizenship model. The challenge for corporate managers, though, is to ensure that their corporate citizenship models are strategically aligned with their business models. A proper fit between these two models could then serve as an important building block with regard to the development of corporate strategies.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Sedert die verval van kommunisme in Oos-Europa in die laat 1980s, het die wereld 'n golf van globalisering ervaar wat 'n generasie gelede ondenkbaar was. 'n Nuwe wereldorde het verskyn, gedryf deur 'n hernude vertroue in die vrye mark ideologie, en grootliks gevorm deur globale ondernemings en internasionale handel. Voorts het nuwe tegnologiee en intydse kommunikasie die potensiaal om mense se lewens by die werk en tuis te verander. Moderne besigheid het ook 'n dramatiese en soms turbulente verandering in die globale arena ondervind, wat deurlopende uitdagings aan bestuurders stel sowel as die vermoë om globaal te dink en op te tree. Alhoewel sommige maatskappye en nasies wel voordeel kon verkry met hierdie scenario, het ander gedeeltes van die globale gemeenskap nie. In 'n wereld waar hongersnood en armoede deel is van die daaglikse bestaan van miljoene mense oor die aarde, is daar groeiende kommer oor die rigting waarin globalisering beweeg. Vergaderings van leiers van nywerheidslande en internasionale owerheidsinstellings is die afgelope aantal jare telkens gekenmerk deur protesaksies teen die groeiende sosioekonomiese gaping tussen ontwikkelde en ontwikkelende nasies. Terwyl wereldleiers oor die die hele spektrum voortgaan met hul pogings om oplossings te vind vir onstabiele finansiele stelsels en 'n ongelyke globale handelsbewind wat intense politieke spanninge skep, bevind globale ondernemings hulself dikwels sentraal in hierdie debatte. Daar is egter 'n groeiende aanvaarding onder die sakegemeenskap dat ook hulle oplossings behoort te vind vir sosio-ekonomiese en ander etiese sake. Dit is egter nie verrassend nie, aangesien sakeleiers die besigheidsimplikasies van hierdie sake die beste begryp. Reeds vir 'n geruime tyd word die veranderende rol van besigheid in die gemeenskap deur akademici en korporatiewe bestuurders bestudeer, met aanvaarding van die siening dat moderne sake nie in isolasie funksioneer nie. Ofskoon ondernemings steeds toegelaat word om 'n opbrengs op belegging te genereer, word meer en meer klem geplaas op hul verantwoordelikhede ten opsigte van die gemeenskap en die omgewing waarbinne hulle funksioneer. Daar is ook 'n groeiende aanvaarding dat globale ondernemings nie kan aanhou om voordeel te verkry uit internasional handel sonder erkenning van - en reaksie op - hul sosiale verantwoordelikhede nie. Dit kon dus as geen verrassing nie om kennis te neem dat die "drieledige basislyn" konsep toenemend aandag geniet in maatskappyverslae dwarsoor die wereld. Sommige multinasionale maatskappye gaan selfs verder deur die publisering van volhoubare ontwikkelingsverslae wat hul vertoning openbaar ten opsigte van sake wat van belang is vir die gemeenskap. Daardeur erken daardie besighede dat hulle in werklikheid globale korporatiewe burgers is, met die onvoorwaardelike onderneming om soos enige ander verantwoordelike burger op te tree. Alhoewel goeie regering, besigheidsetiek, korporatiewe sosiale verantwoordelikheid en volhoubare ontwikkeling almal belangrik is vir verantwoordelike korporatiewe burgerskap, behoort bestuurders die strategiese voordele van korporatiewe burgerskap te waardeer. 'n Strategiese benadering tot korporatiewe burgerskap impliseer ook 'n behoefte vir 'n korporatiewe burgerskapmodel. Die uitdaging vir korporatiewe bestuurders is egter om te verseker dat hul korporatiewe burgerskapmodelle strategies in Iyn is met hul sakemodelle. 'n Behoorlike passing van hierdie twee modelle kan dan dien as 'n belangrike bousteen met betrekking tot die ontwikkeling van korporatiewe strategie.

cmc2013

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