Corporate citizenship and urban problem solving: The changing civic role of business leaders in american cities

Royce Hanson, Harold Wolman, David Connolly, Katherine Pearson, Robert Mcmanmon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (SciVal)


Our concern in this article is corporate civic elite organizations and their role in social production and urban policy in the United States. Recent urban literature has suggested that the power and influence of CEO organizations has declined and that there has been some disengagement of corporate elites from civic efforts in many urban areas. Yet while these trends and their likely consequences are generally acknowledged, relatively little empirical research has been conducted on the nature and extent of the shifts in corporate civic leadership and on how these shifts have affected the civic agendas of central cities and metropolitan regions. In this study we obtain data from 19 large metropolitan areas in order to more systematically examine shifts in corporate civic leadership and their consequences. Our results suggest that the institutional autonomy, time, and personal connections to the central cities of many CEOs have diminished and that the civic organizations though which CEOs work appear to have experienced lowered capacity for sustained action. These trends suggest that while many CEOs and their firms will continue to commit their time and their firms' slack resources to civic enterprises, the problems they address will differ from those tackled in the past. We discuss the important implications these shifts have for the future of corporate civic engagement in urban problem solving and for the practice of urban governance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Urban Affairs
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Urban Studies


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