Defining business (corporate) diplomacy as the management of interfaces between a global company (both SMEs and multinationals) and its multiple non-business counterparts and external constituencies, Désirée van Gorp, discusses how businesses have become important political actors that experience a growing responsibility to respond to global challenges. Discussing the Volkswagen emission scandal, the PUMA safe program and the Avaaz movement, the author distinguishes business diplomacy from spinning and issue management, discusses how local industry and international standards can be important building blocks of sustainable development chains and highlights the role and potential of civil society movements. The author argues that future research in business diplomacy needs to be inter-disciplinary and align the literature on business diplomacy in the fields of international relations and international (business) economics. It is important to incorporate the issue of how technological innovation impacts on the interfaces relevant to companies operating in internationally fragmented value chains.
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