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Title: An investigation into corporate citizenship, policy message, political action and climate change in the European auto sector : forked tongues or tongue-tied?
Author: Anastasiadis, Stephanos-Thomas
Awarding Body: University of Nottingham
Current Institution: University of Nottingham
Date of Award: 2010
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There has been growing interest over recent years in the political dimension of corporations. Corporate citizenship researchers have tended to examine how firms replace government functions, whilst neglecting lobbying. Corporate political activity researchers, meanwhile, have tended to neglect issues around the common good. The research in this thesis examines auto industry lobbying on European Union policymaking on carbon dioxide emissions from cars. It was conducted as an industry commitment on CO2 was expiring and new options were being considered. Carmakers claim to seek to act responsibly, and they frequently have an excellent record of socially responsible activities. However, non-corporate stakeholders typically treat carmakers with some scepticism in the lobbying context. Using semi-structured interviews with participants in the political arena, the thesis investigates the seeming difference between stated commitments and lobbying practice. The research uncovers institutionalised practices in Brussels and company-internal processes on lobbying. There are several layers of lobbying, the most common being a largely ritualised practice in which policymakers mistrust information from corporate lobbyists. Other layers, involving more trust, are less common. The argument is that a lobbyist's choice of mask (a metaphor for the layers) is influenced by how their firm makes sense of its political engagement. A small number of narratives inform carmakers' internal processes on lobbying. These often militate against a government role in setting emissions standards. Such a narrative is compatible with a liberal perspective on citizenship, but does not lead to lobbying practices that enhance trust. The thesis therefore develops a three-stage model of evolution towards trust in the political environment. It proposes a Habermasian perspective on deliberation as an engine of progress, and links changing narratives within firms to an expanded repertoire of masks. It concludes by developing a view of how 'responsible lobbying' might look, and identifying questions for future research.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available