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Corporate Engagement and the Provision of Public Goods – Empirical Findings and Theoretical Conclusions from the Tourism Sector

Susanne Fischer
Universität der Bundeswehr München
Susanne Fischer
Universität der Bundeswehr München
Open Panel

Abstract

Processes of economic globalization are seen to reduce the governance capacity of states. Against this background researchers widely discuss the opportunities and limitations of governance contributions to public goods – such as environmental protection, social standards or the fight against corruption – by corporate actors (Cutler et al. 1999; Flohr et al. 2010). Moreover, IR- and Peace and Conflict-scholars consider corporations to be relevant actors for peace and stability in developing countries and zones of political crisis (Deitelhoff et al. 2010, Haufler 2001). Concerning this, the paper investigates corporate governance contributions of three transnational corporations from the tourism sector in Turkey, Indonesia and the Palestinian Territories. Empirical findings show that the three corporations actually (increasingly) fulfil these expectations. They contribute to environmental protection, support the fight against poverty and help to maintain local cultural heritage at various destinations. However, the case studies also demonstrate that corporate engagement not only has local effects but might account for the emergence and diffusion of new operational standards – often labelled as Sustainable Development or Corporate Social Responsibility – within the tourism sector. This finding allows for a fruitful debate on corporate entrepreneurship and its implications for tourism sector dynamics thereby arriving at a better understanding of the interplay between individual corporate engagement and macro-level dynamics.