Corporate Purpose in Comparative Perspective: The Role of Governance

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8 Citations (Scopus)


Corporate purpose has become a central part of doing business as usual and in the social movement to involve corporations in solving complex societal and environmental challenges. In this essay, I first deconstruct what corporate purpose means from a sociological perspective, and I submit that it is important to identify to whom that purpose is targeted. Second, I seek to make the point that corporate purpose is not universal in that there is not a one-rule-fits-all template on how to develop corporate purpose. I draw on comparative corporate governance, stakeholder management, and institutional theory arguments to illustrate how corporate purpose means different things in different societies and that the departure point of the emanation of corporate purpose varies across countries. This differential meaning is explained in part by the institutional setting as well as very different societal expectations of corporations. Finally, building on insights from existing corporate governance research, I argue that stakeholder engagement can be a useful tool toward effectively deploying corporate purpose.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-201
Number of pages9
JournalStrategy Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023


  • corporate governance
  • corporate purpose
  • cross-national
  • institutional theory
  • stakeholder management


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