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Managing Corporate Legitimacy

A Toolkit

The failure of many governments to provide basic rights for their citizens has given rise to the expectation that globally operating corporations should step in and fill governance gaps, for example in the area of human rights. Today, many large multinational corporations claim to conduct business in a socially responsible manner, yet no tools exist to assess whether and to what degree they have indeed systematically revised their business practices to take on these new responsibilities. Managing Corporate Legitimacy addresses these research gaps by clarifying the role of the corporation as a private actor in global governance at conceptual and empirical levels; by contributing to our theoretical understanding of CC as a new phenomenon in globalization; and by furthering the development of appropriate approaches to CC in practice through its toolkit.

The tool structures the implementation process in five learning stages (defensive, compliance, managerial, strategic and civil). The final civil stage describes political corporate behaviour. The author includes an empirical assessment of five Swiss multinationals in this book which reveals that most companies – even those with relatively long-standing and mature policies on social and environmental issues – have only just started to learn how to become corporate citizens. The book therefore concludes with a discussion of an issue-specific extension of the assessment tool and presents methods for setting priorities in the approach to corporate citizenship that may also facilitate corporate engagement with stakeholders.

The tools developed in this book provide practical and detailed guidance for implementing and embedding CC and managing corporate legitimacy. It will be essential reading for practitioners looking for ways to legitimize their engagement with societal issues and for academics considering how we can better measure the engagement of business with CC.

Managing Corporate Legitimacy is a landmark book for corporate social responsibility in the 21st century and will help define the field in the next decade and beyond. It draws on Dr Baumann-Pauly's deep experience in the corporate and NGO communities. It is intensely practical and offers step-by-step real-world solutions to the everyday CSR issues facing managers. While Managing Corporate Legitimacy is a highly practical down-to-earth book written in accessible language, it is also solidly grounded in cutting-edge scholarship. I highly recommend it for practitioners and scholars who want to understand and be part of the next phase of the global CSR movement.

Michael Santoro, Professor of Management and Global Business, Rutgers Business School

1. Global rules — private actors: The role of the MNC in global governance

1.1. MNCs in global governance

1.2. Research gaps

1.3. Aim of the research

1.4. Structure of the research

 

2. Mapping the theoretical foundations for defining the role of the MNC in a global economy

2.1. Theoretical background and key concepts

2.2. New theoretical developments in political science and business administration

 

3. Bridging theory and practice — Developing an assessment tool for corporate citizenship

3.1. Developing an ideal of CC

3.2. Putting CC into practice

3.3. Results of expert interviews and analysis of best practices

3.4. Learning to implement CC

3.5. Developing the assessment tool

 

4. Assessing corporate citizenship — an empirical study of Swiss UNGC participants

4.1. The methodological approach to the empirical study

4.2. Case study results—implementation of CC according to three dimensions

4.3. Summary of empirical results

4.4. Limitations of the empirical research

 

5. Discussion of the empirical findings

5.1. Practical implications

5.2. Theoretical implications

 

6. Refining the assessment tool

6.1. Introducing an issue-specific dimension to the assessment of CC

6.2. Prioritizing issues and maintaining corporate legitimacy

 

7. Conclusions and further research

Bibliography

Appendices

DOROTHÉE BAUMANN-PAULY is a business ethics scholar and human rights advocate. She teaches at HEC Lausanne and works with the Center on Business and Human Rights at Stern School of Business, New York University.

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