Reflecting on the Cone (2010) Corporate Citizenship Spectrum as a Framework for Research Relating to Corporate Partnerships in Higher Education
Keywords:CSR, Corporate Citizenship, Partnerships, Triple Bottom Line, Qualitative Research Methods, Higher Education, Leadership, Ethics, Philanthropy
Participation by corporations in supporting higher education remains highly visible and controversial for academicians and practitioners. While best practices can be found, many gray areas exist in the actions and motivations for corporate citizenship behavior in relation to higher education. This paper reflects on the usefulness of the Cone (2010) corporate citizenship spectrum used in Clevenger’s (2014) organizational analysis case study, which examines corporate citizenship through the inter-organizational relationships between a public U.S. doctoral research university and six of its corporate partners.
Cone’s spectrum explores four categories: philanthropy, cause-related branding, operational culture, and DNA citizenship ethos. In large part, the spectrum works well to illuminate inter-organizational interactions. However, there are some nuances that challenge the divergence of the four topical areas as well as the convergence within each of the categories.