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Tracking Global Corporate Citizenship: Some Reflections on ‘Lovesick' Companies Grahame Thompson, IIIS and the Open University


This paper provides an outline of some of the issues I am dealing with in connection to a research project being undertaken on Global Corporate Citizenship (GCC). This research is in its early stages so what is provided here is preliminary and designed to raise rather more issues than it solves. In particular, I am concerned to deal with what it might mean for companies to be described, or to describe themselves, as Global Corporate Citizens. In the general literature on corporate responsibility there is a move away from companies being described, or describing themselves, as Corporately Socially Responsible (CSR) to them re-describing themselves as Global Corporate Citizens (GCC). I want to ask what is involved in this (self)description as ‘citizens'? Can citizenship be applied first to companies and then extended into the global arena in which they operate?

When looking at the actual practices of companies that claim to be either simply socially responsible or more recently corporate citizens , there is not much difference between them. Much the same ‘content', as it were, in terms of the claims to what they are doing or should do, adheres under both titles. So is it merely a matter of words? Does it make any difference that on the one had they claim to be socially responsible or on the other to be global citizens? I will argue that this is a very significant change in terminology that is having, and will continue to have, significant affects that need to be analysed and appreciated. To explore these implications, the following analysis situates GCC in a wider framework of the progressive juridicalization and constitutionalization of the international arena more generally.

Last updated 28 August 2014 by IIIS (Email).