Constructions of Citizenship among Multinational Corporations


Sociology & Criminal Justice

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Using social contract theory as a foundation I examined the ways in which four multinational corporations use disclosures of corporate social responsibility to present themselves as good corporate citizens. Several factors influence a corporation’s use of CSR: size of the corporation, public visibility, personal commitment of high ranking executives, location of manufacturing operations, and types of stakeholders. There is a significant difference in the responsibilities and obligations Proctor & Gamble, Kimberly-Clark, and Colgate-Palmolive ascribe to themselves as corporate citizens compared to those of SC Johnson. I attribute this difference to one of stakeholder accountability, specifically public shareholders. The three publicly held corporations adhere to a social contract model of corporate citizenship wherein they accept a certain level of social responsibility as accruing to their powerful global economic position, whereas privately held SC Johnson, inhabiting a similarly powerful position, assumes no additional responsibility beyond that of increasing sales and maximizing profits.