Corporate democratic nation-building: Reflections on the constructive role of businesses in fostering global democracy

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Europe is going through a testing time. The UK’s decision to leave the European Union, and thereby to unravel some 40 years of ever closer union and integration between the member states, is not just about redefining domestic politics. Brexit has deep international ramifications and puts the entire EU to the test, raising the larger political question about peace and stability in Europe. The ideological backbone of the EU is to end the frequent bloodshed between neighbouring countries across the continent. Since its inception, the EU has played a key role in global politics, historically as a main player in the Cold War and most recently as a highly active global player in the fight against terrorism. A disunited-or disuniting-Europe is a political condition, which too often has fertilized radical ideologies, mobilized alienated and disenfranchised citizens in extreme right- or left-wing movements and, ultimately, led to unrest and war. A new European equilibrium is not a desirable option: It’s a sine qua non for peace and stability. The aim of this reflection on Europe is to outline the crucial constructive role that businesses can adopt to foster this new state of democratic equilibrium. This reflection develops a speculative argument showing that businesses can have direct impact on a range of enabling conditions for democracy. 1 The argument goes one step further by advancing the controversial view not only that businesses can actively contribute to democratic nation-building, but also corporations have non-trivial structural and pragmatic advantages that potentially make them better democratic nation-builders than traditional political agents. Although normative in nature, this reflection does not aim to convince the reader of any political approaches or ideas; rather, my hope is to present a provocative argument to spark reflection on a crucial topic that has deep ramifications for businesses and society.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationManagement Research
Subtitle of host publicationEuropean Perspectives
EditorsSabina Siebert
Place of PublicationNew York
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781351760928, 9781315194394
ISBN (Print)9781138721463
Publication statusPublished - 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)
  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)


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