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Corporate cultures compared

Similarities and differences between various approaches on the part of companies in the USA, Canada and Mexico bring to the light the obstacles to overcome as well as the shared work spaces

The view which companies have of the external environment changes according to multiple factors and conditions. It is a question of men and women, of the environment and cultural climate, of stresses and social conditioning.

Comparing corporate systems that are close yet different helps better to understand not only the different manufacturing and commercial strategies but also the approach towards the outside of the factory which now goes by the name of corporate social responsibility (CSR). This is an important operation, which was carried out for North America by Karen Becker-Olsen and Francisco Guzmán and which provides a good snapshot of the situation of companies in Mexico, USA and Canada in terms of corporate social responsibility. This is an even more important photograph today, considering the recent political developments.

The historic base presumed by the research is the creation of the NAFTA area, in other words the free trade between these three countries. An agreement which – as the two authors explain -, was obviously studied in an in-depth manner in strictly economic terms, but to a much lesser extent when it comes to CSR. Indeed, the corporate social responsibility strategies implemented in different ways by the companies in the three countries, as their communication and cross-border exchange programmes, are elements which have been given little consideration to date.

The work by Becker-Olsen and Guzmán, therefore, starts with a theoretical basis and proceeds with an analysis of the historical development of the various CSR approaches to the present day. Specifically, the situation of companies in the USA and Canada is compared with that of Mexico. Hence emerge not only the peculiar characteristics of each type of company, but also the possible contacts which there are in any case and the spaces within which work can be done to achieve improved integration concerning the entire NAFTA area.

Becker-Olsen and Guzmán’s work is a useful read to understand about multiple corporate cultures that are not merely apparently far removed from our own.

Corporate Social Responsibility Communication in North America: The Past, Present and Future

Karen Becker-Olsen 

Francisco Guzmán

Handbook of Integrated CSR Communication, Part of the series CSR, Sustainability, Ethics & Governance pp 293-315,  30 December 2016