Boston College reports get to root of corporate citizenship, community involvement success

Competency models outline what it takes for leaders to excel
Jan 27, 2010 11:30 AM ET

(3BLMedia/theCSRfeed) Chestnut Hill, Mass. (January 27, 2010)  – Corporate citizenship and community involvement are emerging as critical management challenges for business but there is little guidance for companies on what it takes to manage corporate citizenship effectively. To help the professionals in these fields meet these challenges, the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship has just released two new publications that examine the role, the responsibilities and the leadership competencies required to excel.

“Leadership Competencies for Corporate Citizenship” and “Leadership Competencies for Community Involvement” are the product of Center research project to create models for successfully leading and managing corporate citizenship and community involvement. Developed with the assistance of the Hay Group, a pioneering consultancy in competency modeling, these models are drawn from experiences of successful community involvement and corporate citizenship leaders. The competency project was made possible with the support of sponsors Aramark, Dow, EnCana, GE and Sprint.   The 21st century has brought a transformation in the business operating environment that is reverberating in corporate citizenship and community involvement. Business now is expected to be an active partner and contributor to addressing diverse social issues and no longer a passive supporter of good causes. This requires that professionals in both fields be more strategic and possess the talent needed to successfully support integration of community involvement programs and corporate citizenship principles and policies across the business.   The new leadership competency models are designed to meet the challenges these professionals face. The models include:
  • Examination of the new leadership roles required at today's companies

  • Detailed descriptions of eight competencies for each role that are critical to success in leadership

  • Examples of competencies in action, and how individuals can use the model to develop competency

  • Profiles of leading professionals in these fields

“This model floored me with how spot-on it is as a leadership model for corporate citizenship,” said Bob Langert, vice president of corporate social responsibility for McDonald’s.  “It should be spread far and wide for leaders today, and especially for the leaders of tomorrow.”   Today’s community involvement leaders must have the competencies it takes to mobilize and engage a broad range of internal and external stakeholders to create innovative programs that leverage a business’ unique resources and capabilities to generate measurable value for both society and the company. Effective corporate citizenship management requires a high level of professionalism and competency similar to other senior management functions. It is unique with respect to the wide array of knowledge and skills necessary to perform successfully as a leader and requires a very talented, multi-dimensional and resilient individual.    “The results in the competency model provide an important guide to what it takes to effectively lead and manage the corporate citizenship function in the 21st century,” said Frank Mantero, director of Corporate Citizenship Programs at GE.   The leadership competency models build on earlier work by the Boston College Center’s Executive Education team on identifying skills and knowledge required for successful corporate citizenship leadership. This initial work made it clear that achieving a high level of success as a corporate citizenship or community involvement leader requires more insight into the characteristics or individual attributes that enable an individual to succeed. Personal attributes, like the roots of a tree, lie beneath the surface. They do not often appear on a resume and are not readily detected but these attributes play a critical role in determining the ability of these leaders to successfully apply the knowledge and skills they acquire.   “I think this is very exciting research for a field that is rapidly evolving,” remarked Joyce Witte, community investment adviser for EnCana Oil & Gas (USA) Inc. “To dig deeper than the standard stuff that goes on a resume, like skills and knowledge, and take a clear look at fundamental attributes like optimistic passion, strategic thinking and personal maturity, provides invaluable insight to the people who excel in this field.”   To identify and define the leadership competencies that separate outstanding corporate citizenship and community involvement leaders from more average performers, researchers conducted focus groups and interviews with more than 20 highly successful leaders.Thus the competencies presented are based on real world experience and demonstrated success in these roles.   “What was striking in researching this competency model was to discover how much in common the highly successful CSR leader has with the chief executive officer role,” observed Chris Pinney, director of research and policy at the Boston College Center and principal investigator for the competency project. “Few other senior management positions require such adroit and highly developed strategic insight and influence abilities and such a breadth of oversight and knowledge of both the business and the world around it.”   The Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship is a membership-based research organization associated with the Carroll School of Management. It is committed to helping business leverage its social, economic and human assets to ensure both its success and a more just and sustainable world. As a leading resource on corporate citizenship, the Center works with global corporations to help them define, plan and operationalize their corporate citizenship. Through the power of research, management and leadership programs, and the insights of its 350 corporate members, the Center creates knowledge, value and demand for corporate citizenship.   For more information contact:
Tim Wilson, Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship
Email: Phone: 617-552-1173   BCCCC4288