‘Corporate Business Diplomacy’: Reflections on the Interdisciplinary Nature of the Field

in The Hague Journal of Diplomacy
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This article illustrates the interdisciplinary nature of the field of corporate business diplomacy using examples from academic disciplines, such as economics and political science, which can contribute to the understanding of corporate business diplomacy. Examples also show that corporate business diplomacy can complement business theories such as stakeholder theory and agency theory. Examples from practice show that in a broad sense, corporate business diplomacy is concerned with managing external stakeholders, while in a narrow sense, it is concerned with managing internal stakeholders. The usefulness of an analytical research triangulation is illustrated.




W. Henisz, Corporate Diplomacy: Building Reputations and Relationships with External Stakeholders (Sheffield: Greenleaf, 2014).


H. Nicolson, Diplomacy (London: Thornton Butterworth, 1939).


H.J.M. Ruël and R. Visser, ‘Commercial Diplomats as Corporate Entrepreneurs: Explaining Role Behaviour from an Institutional Perspective’, International Journal of Diplomacy and Economy, vol. 1, no. 1, 2012. pp. 42-79.


Hocking, ‘Multistakeholder Diplomacy’, pp. 17-20.


R.W. Freeman, Strategic Management: A Stakeholder Approach (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983), p. 53.


See Søndergaard, Saner and Yiu, ‘Corporate Diplomat’; see also M.L. Tushman and T.J. Scanlan, ‘Boundary Spanning Individuals: Their Role in Information-Transfer and Their Antecedents’, Academy of Management Journal, vol. 24, 1981, pp. 289-305.


Søndergaard, Saner and Yiu, ‘Corporate Diplomat’; see also D.G. Ancona and D.F. Cardwell, ‘Bridging the Boundary: External Activity and Performance in Organizational Teams’, Administrative Science Quarterly, vol. 37, no. 4, 1992, pp. 634-665.


Søndergaard, Saner and Yiu, ‘Corporate Diplomat’; see G. Hofstede, ‘Organizing for Cultural Diversity’, European Management Journal, vol. 7, 1989, p. 396; G. Hofstede, Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind (London: McGraw-Hill, 1991), p. 213; and G. Hofstede, Culture’s Consequences (Thousand Oaks, ca: Sage Publications, 2001), p. 445.


Hocking, ‘Multistakeholder Diplomacy’, pp. 17-20.


M.C. Jensen and W.H. Merckling, ‘Theory of the Firm: Managerial Behaviour, Agency Costs and Ownership Structure’, Journal of Financial Economics, vol. 3, no 4, 1976, pp. 305-360.


Tushman and Scanlan, ‘Boundary Spanning Individuals’, pp. 289-305; and M.L. Tushman, ‘Characteristics and External Orientations of Boundary Spanning Individuals’, Academy of Management Journal, vol. 24, 1981, pp. 83-98.


Ancona and Cardwell, ‘Bridging the Boundary’, pp. 634-665.


Hofstede, ‘Organizing for Cultural Diversity’, p. 396; Hofstede, Cultures and Organizations, p. 213; and Hofstede, Culture’s Consequences, p. 445.


Levy, Beechler, Taylor and Boyacigiller, ‘What We Talk About When We Talk About “Global Mindset”’, pp. 231-258.


Levy, Beechler, Taylor and Boyacigiller, ‘What We Talk About When We Talk About “Global Mindset”’, p. 244.


Levy, Beechler, Taylor and Boyacigiller, ‘What We Talk About When We Talk About “Global Mindset”’, p. 244.


P. Williams, ‘The Competent Boundary Spanner’, Public Administration, vol. 80, no. 1, 2002, pp. 103-124.


Williams, ‘The Competent Boundary Spanner’, p. 114.


Williams, ‘The Competent Boundary Spanner’, pp. 115-116.


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