Blogs & Comment

Corporate Citizenship

Corporate Citizenship: how do you decide where and how to get involved?
Today’s Globe and Mail contains an articlein the ROB by Daniel F. Muzyka and Darcy Rezac that addresses this important question related to the intersection of business and the community. I advise corporations to ask a similar question: What’s your corporation’s social purpose? (see Purposeful Pursuits– an article I wrote for CRO Magazine in the fall)
I think the questions posed in today’s article are good ones and I agree with the guidelines recommended as the framework for corporate-community engagement. I also think that most public corporations have already developed an approach to corporate citizenship that is largely consistent with these guidelines.
Today, I think it’s important to examine corporate citizenship in two very different contexts.
First, large public corporations. Here, the central paradox is that while most have a disciplined and strategic approach to citizenship, their key stakeholders (including employees and customers/consumers) remain largely unaware of these intiatives. In these situations, the most important questions are: How can we increase internal and external awareness of corporate citizenship in a way that best complements our core value proposition? How can we maximize the impact of our communications without appearing to be opportunistic? How can we best measure the impact of what we do?
SMEs are in a very different context. They’re beginning to come under pressure from stakehodlers to be responsible corporate citizens but don’t have the internal resources to develop strategies, implement programs, and measure results. For SME’s the most important questions are : What is the business case? How can we best leverage our core capabilities (a key point in Muzyka and Rezac’s article)? Who will “own” corporate citizeship internally? Given the resources we have, what baby steps will best maximize ROI and help build the business case?