One of the assignments we had in our Corporate Citizenship class was to write about our own citizenship. This could have been for an organization we belong to, our national citizenship or another form of citizenship we have. Our professor gave us permission to write about our citizenship in any context which was certainly advantageous.
The idea of citizenship is composed of three “themes” or parts. The first aspect is Status, which is the basic defining characteristic of what it means to be a citizen. The second is Entitlements, which contains the benefits one receives from being a citizen. The third is the Responsibilities a citizen has. (Essentially, what are the expectations and requirements that a person needs to do to be a citizen of the larger entity?)
This assignment challenged me to look at my personal citizenship and see how actively involved I am in the group(s) that I participate in. I listed out all the benefits I receive and the various responsibilities or expectations that I need to meet. Upon reflection, I realized that I can be a better citizen than I have been.
Through this exercise, we can now evaluate a Corporation’s citizenship by comparing it to our own citizenship.
Ultimately, a Corporation has many responsibilities, but determining what are mandatory and voluntary is where things become tricky.
It’s important to remember that Corporations are inhuman. We are human and thus, we have the benefit of a conscience that encourages us to act in a manner that is ethical and responsible. To make a Corporation act socially responsible, it will require igniting and unifying the consciences of its Shakeholders.