• Develop insight into the role of corporations in global governance and multi-stakeholder initiatives (MSIs).• Highlight the importance of corporate relations with non-government organisations (NGOs) and state organisations.• Recognise the political impact of corporate products and services.
How do corporations influence international politics and global governance? Can the products and services they produce transform political realities? The recognition and understanding of such questions is important for future managers because they encourage the proactive management of social pressures associated with direct and indirect corporate impacts on political goods of fundamental importance (e.g. democracy, liberty). In light of such, this chapter first provides you with a brief review of how the ‘political’ corporate social responsibility (CSR) literature has conceived the role that corporations play in MSIs and global governance more generally. Following this, the role that corporations play in international politics is outlined with reference to the corporate political activity literature, among others. In recognising the currently broadening interest in corporations, politics and responsibility, and in explicitly acknowledging the significance of ongoing developments in high-technology (e.g. the Internet, robotics), we then explore how corporate products and services can also impact on political considerations in fundamental ways.
To better illustrate such transformative potential, David Eggers’ fictional work ‘The Circle’ is used to help construct a case study on how Google Glass might transform political transparency. Moreover, the case reveals that Google itself is commonly accused of lacking transparency with regard to its political contributions, and with regards to its own products and services. In this fashion, the case suggests that while the political impact of corporations can be complex, and even revolutionary, they are also generally informed by base motivations and practices.
By the end of the chapter, you will be able to identify literature most closely connected with corporations, politics and responsibility, to make clear sense of why corporate relations with non-governmental and state organisations are important, and to discuss how corporate products and services can influence political matters. More generally, you will be better able to understand the ways in which corporations influence matters of political importance in multifaceted ways.