Extended Foundational Citizenship

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Extended Foundational Citizenship

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Title: Extended Foundational Citizenship
Danish Foundations, CSR Legislation, and how Tradition Facilitates Compettive Advantage
Author: Blom, Karen Sofie; Kaus, Kristine; Biering-Sørensen, Anna Sophie; Tackney, Charles T.
Abstract: In stark contrast to other national settings, the commercial foundation is a rather common form of ownership of enterprises in Denmark. Today, there are around 1,300 Danish commercial foundations. Familiar foundations include AP Møller Mærsk, Carlsberg, Egmont, and Novo Nordisk. Our paper aims to facilitate an understanding of this unique Danish tradition and explore its profound contemporary relevance.The significance of Danish commercial foundations, their societal and compassionate role, has manifested itself through philanthropic projects for centuries. We explore the dual identities that inhere in contemporary Danish commercial foundations, and how these impact contemporary society. There are also challenges and opportunities for such foundations in light of recent Danish corporate social responsibility (CSR) legislation. We explore these through a contextual analysis of legal structures that govern Danish commercial foundations. Extended Foundational Corporate Citizenship (EFCC) is presented in the paper as a communications model or tool to help resolve the inherent tension between a commercial foundation’s contemporary business and philanthropic units, offering an aid to strategic advantage identification. The EFCC model and associated modes of communication proposed may further serve to manage legislative pressures presented to commercial foundations. Moreover, the traditional commercial foundation structure, coupled with EFCC model deployment, appears theoretically and strategically anticipatory of emerging Danish legislative obligations. Isomorphic processes within commercial foundations shed light on the links between the internal communicative challenge and CSR legislation. Such isomorphism appears between the business - philanthropic configuration and the company - CSR configuration. These processes aid recognition of the potential benefit of the inherent structure of a commercial foundation in relation to the emerging focus on CSR legislation. An additional purpose of illustrating the isomorphic processes was to facilitate clarification of a potential strategic advantage of commercial foundations, indicating how such traditional foundations may not only exist in society but operate “ahead of” emerging CSR legislative reporting obligations. The contemporary proliferation of CSR, as a legal matter, is a potent source of consumer interest. It is also a research field that provides commercial foundations with a number of opportunities to explore. Legislative obligations may appear to be little more than a reporting obligation for commercial foundations’ business units. Yet, our research suggests the structure of a commercial foundation already contains a latent communicative advantage for the good, not only of commercial foundations, but also contemporary society. We believe that our research findings in the Danish case of foundation organization and management theory may be of interest to an international audience. Within the structure of a commercial foundation one may find inherent notions of compassion coupled with authentic commercial and profit-making intentions. Indeed, we hope the results offer a path to successfully anticipate current, as well as future, stakeholder and public expectations for an organizational form of historical interest and future merit.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10398/8612
Date: 2013-01-04
Notes: Paper presented at The 30th Standing Conference on Organizational Symbolism. 2012 : Organizing Through Displacement, Travel and Movement: Transience, Transitions and Transformations. 11-14 July, 2012. Bracelona, Spain.

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