20. September 2009
Dr. Susanne Lang
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Publication: GERN Report 2009 "Mapping Stakeholder Landscapes"

The expectations and the voice of stakeholders do have a growing influence on corporate citizenship. However, number and type of stakeholders, and their respective influence and opinions about business conduct, differ from one country to the next. That is why, the approaches firms take to corporate citizenship and the nature of it will differ as well. That is the thesis, the new GERN report “Mapping Stakeholder Landscapes” comes up with. CCCD participated in this research as a member of GERN and gave input on the stakeholder landscape concerning corporate citizenship in Germany.

After the report on the many factors – global and local ones – which are shaping corporate citizenship in nine nations studied around the world, the new GERN report explores how the influence of stakeholder groups in supporting or inhibiting corporate citizenship varies across nations.

Working with members of GERN from Chile, China, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Philippines, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States, this study maps a group of key business stakeholders according to 1) their overall attitude toward corporate citizenship, and 2) their respective influence on corporations’ adoption of corporate citizenship practices.

Lack of strong promoters in Germany

For Germany the study comes to the result that there is a lack of strong promoters of corporate citizenship. While the movement has begun, corporate citizenship has not yet “taken off” as it has in other European countries. While most stakeholders sit somewhat indifferently in the middle ground, certain groups can be identified as more supportive of corporate citizenship than others, notably the government.

The study also explores how specific stakeholder groups, say government or consumers, exert influence across nations. This comparative view illustrates global similarities and differences in stakeholder power and attitudes. It also provides clues as to how stakeholder environment as a whole influences the nature and development of corporate citizenship.

Key findings include:

  • Government is the most powerful and positive force for corporate citizenship globally.
  • Mainstream investors do not yet appreciate or understand the financial value of corporate citizenship.
  • Many stakeholders — especially employees and consumers — are “on the fence” due to a lack of awareness about corporate citizenship and weak social movements advancing these issues.
  • Developing countries differ from developed countries in the influence of certain stakeholder groups such as socially responsible investors and ethical consumers.

Chris Pinney, director of research and policy for the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship, is convinced: “Companies that understand where the support and pressure for corporate citizenship is coming from are better able to map strategies and devise programs that meet the interests of the company and key stakeholders.” That is why, Pinney argues, this GERN report “is essential reading for business leaders”.
Download GERN-Report 2009

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