Gap Exists Between Corporate Citizenship Rhetoric And Reality

by | Dec 18, 2007

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Positive attitudes about corporate citizenship among U.S. business leaders are not yet matched by positive actions, according to the State of Corporate Citizenship in the U.S survey, a project of the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship and The Hitachi Foundation.

Some 60 percent of surveyed executives say corporate citizenship is part of their business strategy to a large or very great extent. But just 39 percent report it is part of their business planning process, and only 25 percent have an individual or team responsible for citizenship issues.

Seventy-six percent of executives say corporate citizenship fits their companies’ traditions and values. Yet only 36 percent report talking to their employees about corporate citizenship. Most business leaders (81%) note the impotance of valuing employees and treating them well. Yet less than half (46%) support work-life balance for all employees including hourly workers and just about a third (31%) offer training and career opportunities for their own lower-wage employees.

“Even when action could address a pressing business need, such as developing and tapping a skilled workforce, reality trails behind rhetoric,” said Barbara Dyer, President and CEO of The Hitachi Foundation. “While 41 percent felt that companies should be held responsible for improving the education and skills in the communities where they operate, only 18 percent of business are offering job training to people in economically distressed communities.”

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