Handbook of Research on Global Corporate Citizenship
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Handbook of Research on Global Corporate Citizenship

Edited by Andreas Georg Scherer and Guido Palazzo

The Handbook of Research on Global Corporate Citizenship identifies and fosters key interdisciplinary research on corporate citizenship and provides a framework for further academic debate on corporate responsibility in a global society.
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Chapter 10: Corporate Citizenship and Global Conflicts: The Baboon Moment

Charles B. Koerber and Timothy L. Fort


10 Corporate citizenship and global conflicts: the baboon moment Charles P. Koerber and Timothy L. Fort Introduction In a 2006 Foreign Affairs article, anthropologist Robert Sapolsky related the story of the Forest Troop. The Forest Troop was a community of baboons living on the edge of a tourist camp. The Troop feasted on the leftover food of campers. In particular, the alpha males splurged, gorging themselves on food and competing fiercely for it. The Forest Troop was violent and competitive; it was not noted for sharing. Then tuberculosis swept through the camp, killing the alpha males. The Forest Troop survivors were the females and the less aggressive males. With the alpha males gone, the ‘culture’ of the baboons changed. Rather than being competitive and violent, the group became less violent and far more sharing. This would not be too surprising, but what followed was. Baboon males circulate. They go from troop to troop, one might say, so that there is a regular, new influx of new males into the group. Those new males were also aggressive alpha males and so one would expect that when they arrived on the scene, the Forest Troop would return to its violent ways. It didn’t. Instead, the alpha males changed their behavior so that they too joined in the sharing and nurturing of the troop. In short, through successive generations, the entire culture of the Forest Troop changed. Sapolsky compares this event to modern nation-states. He argues that countries have changed...

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