Stages of Corporate Citizenship™: A Developmental Framework

This survey will help you gauge the stage of development of corporate citizenship in your company by focusing on important aspects of citizenship, as described in the monograph, The Stages of Corporate Citizenship, by the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship.

Once you complete the survey, you will immediately receive a cumulative benchmark showing the overall stage of your company's corporate citizenship, with a graphic indicating your scoring on each of the dimensions of citizenship. You will also have an opportunity to read more about the challenges associated with your designated stage and ways to overcome them.

This survey is not intended to provide an in-depth assessment of the state of corporate citizenship in your company or how well it is managed. Rather, it is a first-pass diagnostic that can provoke thinking and help with planning. It also provides a perspective on how your company fits into the current business landscape. Most companies find they are not at any single stage and that the characteristics of their citizenship that matter most may be reflected in a few stages.

You can use the results of this survey as a tool to engage others on your team and in the company in a conversation about the company's corporate citizenship efforts.

As you assess your company's citizenship efforts, look to the Center for Corporate Citizenship for help in developing a first-class corporate citizenship program. We offer custom training and consulting, executive education for your entire team, and involvement in peer-to-peer networks that let you benchmark with other companies at the forefront of corporate citizenship. To learn more about the Center and our services, visit our web site at, or contact us at

How to complete the survey:
To complete the survey, read the questions in each section to get a sense of the topic and then check the one statement that best describes citizenship in your company.

1. Corporate Citizenship Concept:  What best describes corporate citizenship in your company? How broad is your citizenship concept?

The concept of corporate citizenship in my company primarily focuses on:

Just the Basics:  Jobs, profit, taxes
Functional Focus: Philanthropy, Community relations, Environmental Protection
Stakeholder engagement and management
An Integrated Concept:  Triple bottom line, with equal importance assigned to economic, social and environmental factors.
Embedded in the corporate DNA: it is the way we define and do business.

2. Strategic Intent:  What is your company's strategy with regard to corporate citizenship? Does your company believe that citizenship has an impact on reputation? On recruiting and retention?  On bottom line performance? Is corporate citizenship integrated into your company's business model?

My company's strategic intent with regard to corporate citizenship focuses on:

Legal compliance
Preserving our reputation and license to operate
The Business Case: traditional ROI criteria
The Business Case “Plus”:  In addition to traditional ROI criteria, company values are seen as a key driver for assessing risk and opportunity.
Corporate citizenship is a part of our business model: a focus on market opportunity and creation

3. Leadership:  How engaged are your CEO and other top company leaders about corporate citizenship? What type of leadership do they exercise in this area?  Are their efforts visible outside the company?  Is your company's Board of Directors active in citizenship?

I would characterize my company's leadership as:

Lip service, out of touch
Supporters: Leaders are in the loop, but not driving it.
Stewards: Leaders are on top of it.
Champions: Leaders are out in front, leading our industry.
Visionaries: Leaders aim to change the game of business

4. Operations: Are there people or units with specific responsibilities for citizenship activities in your company?  Do they exchange information across units?  Coordinate actions? Work together?  Are there cross functional committees or groups that address social and environmental performance? Is citizenship integrated into line business operations?

The extent to which corporate citizenship is embedded in my company's structure and business operations is:

Marginal: Functional heads “do their bit”. Citizenship responsibility is fragmented or nonexistent.
Functional: There are units with specific citizenship-related responsibilities, but activity is still mostly siloed.
Cross-Functional Coordination: Citizenship responsibility is coordinated across units.
Aligned: There is vertical buy-in across the company and lines of business are engaged.
Integrated: Corporate citizenship is driven by the business, and activities cut across and are owned by functions and business units.

5. Issues Management: How does your company handle social and environmental issues that arise?  Are there clear policies on these matters?  Effective programs? Goals and measurements? Are citizenship-related issues managed as other vital activities in the company? Are issues managed proactively and seen as areas of opportunity?

I would characterize my company's approach to issues management as:

Defensive: Issues handled as one-offs.
Reactive: We have programs on paper, but many are not fully implemented.
Responsive: We have operationalized policies and programs on key issues relevant to the company.
Responsible: We have programs along with plans, goals and performance measures on the management of issues we face.
Proactive: Plans and actions are ahead of the curve.  We anticipate and prepare for emerging issues -- both risks and opportunitie

6. Stakeholder Relations: How does your company relate to its stakeholders? Does it communicate openly and regularly? Are there good working relationships with stakeholders? A relationship of mutual benefit? A relationship of partnership?

I would characterize my company's approach stakeholder relations as:

Unilateral: We generally have one-way communication with stakeholders.
Interactive: We generally have two-way communication with stakeholders.
Consultation: We have a relationship of mutual influence, in which stakeholders influence the business and the business influences stakeholders.
Win-Win: We have a shared agenda with stakeholders and each do our part.
Partnership: We work together with stakeholders on important issues and learn from them as an equal partner.

7. Accountability: To what extent does your company measure the quality and impact of its social, environmental and economic efforts on the business and on society?

I would characterize my company's accountability mechanisms as:

Minimal.  Only that which is require for legal compliance.
Sporadic, mostly when a high-profile issue arises.
Systematic, but only in a few line and staff functions.
Systematic, in many functions of the business.
This is core to how we run the business.

8. Transparency: To what extent does your company communicate about it its financial, social and environmental performance? Is there public reporting? Outside verification of performance results?

I would characterize my company's approach to transparency about its social, environmental and financial performance as:

Flank protection: Minimal disclosure
Public relations:  Some disclosure, emphasizing good news.
Public reporting on citizenship-related issues
Full disclosure of goals and results.
We seek third party assurance /verification for our reported results.


Size of company: (employees)
Industry:    Other:
What department in your company is responsible for corporate citizenship?    Other:
What top executive has responsibility for corporate citizenship?    Other: