Corporate citizenship success hinges on support from senior executives

Recent research by the Center and others continues to show that support from the top of a firm is essential to the success of your corporate citizenship programs. Securing buy-in from senior executives goes a long way toward integrating corporate citizenship across an organization and demonstrating how it can align with business strategy.

In our most recent signature research report, Profile of the Professionals 2013, survey respondents at middle- and senior-level positions cite a lack of top management buy-in among the greatest challenges they face when trying to implement corporate citizenship programs.

One of our recently published Research Briefs offers some advice to those who are striving to achieve critical buy-in from company leaders. Recent research from the Strategic Management Journal[1], suggests that professionals pursuing innovative strategic initiatives, such as corporate citizenship programs, should use rational arguments, data, and analysis that demonstrate benefits of the proposed program in order to gain support from senior executives.

In response to such research findings and based on feedback from our members we have developed a new course to support corporate citizenship professionals in meeting these challenges. Gaining Executive Buy-in for Corporate Citizenship will debut in September as a Certificate of Corporate Citizenship Management elective taught by Dr. Jim Pulcrano, a member of the management and teaching teams at IMD. Jim has created or contributed significantly to six startups in Switzerland and the United States, and has coached hundreds of entrepreneurs through the IMD Startup Competition and the Swiss "Venture Kick" organization. His research, teaching, and consulting has focused on entrepreneurship, networking, strategy, innovation and organizational design. He brings great experience and insights into the classroom and can help advance your skill set.

Whether your focus is on philanthropy, sustainability, reporting, or employee engagement, to advance corporate citizenship programs you need fluency in the language of business and the capability to translate goals in ways that resonate with your top executives. As with all of our programs at the Center for Corporate Citizenship, this course takes a practitioner focus and shares knowledge and experience that is immediately applicable and will enhance your skills and performance. Experienced professionals understand that their skill in influencing senior executives allows them to lead corporate citizenship effectively from where they sit in the company. They take to heart the advice once offered by Theodore Roosevelt: "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are."


[1] “Group Influence Activities and the Performance of Strategic Initiatives,” Strategic Management Journal, 33: 478-495 (2012), Christoph Lechner and Steven W. Floyd