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Corporate Citizenship as Social Capital

By Martina Battisti

Abstract

As a result of changes in the labour market connected with on-going socio-political transformations, the welfare state is no longer able to fulfil its traditional mandate. The focus of debate has thus shifted to civil society, which aims to involve citizens more strongly in the design and realization of social structures. Similarly, companies are increasingly being called upon as corporate citizens to play an appropriate part, beyond their economic activities, in the creation and maintenance of functioning community structures. The project Building Bridges seeks to create a connection between two spheres of work and life that are often perceived as opposites. Through a weeklong exchange of management personnel from companies and social institutions, the project aims to provide a mutual enrichment of experience and knowledge. The sociological question that arises from the Building Bridges project is whether and in what form this exchange leads to social engagement on the part of companies. This thesis investigates whether, alongside effects on the level of the individual, longer-term results can be observed that give rise to cooperation between companies and social institutions. The thesis approaches this problem through the application of qualitative methods. With the assistance of the methodological approach provided by hermeneutically-oriented depth psychology, both the relationship between experiences and the concrete interpretative moments that constitute a statement about these experiences and their relationships can be preserved. In this way, both the subjectively lived experiences of the participants and their repressed significance can be reconstructed. Finally, the results are discussed with reference to the theoretical concepts of corporate citizenship and social capital. The paper is written in german.Social Capital, Corporate Citizenship, Qualitative Evaluation Research

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