Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Communication and Information

Major Professor

Candace L. White

Committee Members

Elizabeth Avery Foster, Krista E. Wiegand


This qualitative study on the concept of corporate diplomacy investigates the attitudes towards, views, and the practice of diplomatic characteristics by German transnational corporations as a strategic management function. The research conducted advances past research about corporate diplomacy in different national contexts. The study used semi-structured long interviews to collect data and analyzed the findings using the grounded theory approach by Corbin and Strauss (2015). Even though findings showed a lack of knowledge of the term corporate diplomacy, the overall findings revealed a rather conscious implementation of corporate diplomacy in form of a general corporate social responsibility strategy into the corporate structure of German international operating corporations. Furthermore, results showed that German corporate executives have an understanding of corporate social responsibility as a management strategy, to not only enhance the lives of their employees but also the wider community they are part of. While there is an understanding on the mutuality of country image that derives from corporate and government practices, German corporate executives do not see themselves as active ambassadors of their country. Cultural and structural developments have an effect on corporate behavior, as results of this study show that attributes of Germany’s social market economy also affect corporate conduct abroad. Furthermore, German societal expectations affect corporate behavior, in thatthey influence German corporations to implement good corporate conduct to avoid scrutiny brand damage at home. Interviews revealed a great potential for corporate diplomacy as a strategic management function in German transnational corporations, when there is a greater understanding of the benefits of corporate governance and German corporate executives see the significance of the widerrange of common problem-solving, and sustainability.

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