1st Edition

Corporate Cultural Responsibility How Business Can Support Art, Design, and Culture

By Michael Bzdak Copyright 2022
    190 Pages 15 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    190 Pages 15 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Is corporate investing in the arts and culture within communities good business? Written by an expert on the topic who ran the Corporate Art Program at Johnson & Johnson, the book sets out the case for business patronage of the arts and culture and demonstrates how to build an effective program for businesses to follow.

    As companies seek new ways to add value to society, this book places business support of the arts in a corporate social responsibility context and offers a new concept: Corporate Cultural Responsibility. It discusses the issues underlying business support of the arts and explores new avenues of collaboration and value creation. The framework presented in the book serves as a guide for identifying the key attributes and projected impact of successful and sustainable models. Unlike other books centered on the relationship of art and commerce, this book looks at the broader and global implications of Corporate Cultural Responsibility. It also usefully sets the discussion about the role of philanthropy and corporate social responsibility and the arts within an historical timeframe.

    As the first book to link culture to community responsibility, the book will be of particular relevance to corporate art advisors and auction houses, as well as students of arts management and corporate social responsibility at advanced undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

    Introduction; 1 Defining a Role for Business in the Arts: Promising Patronage Practices; 2 Modernism and the Corporate Campus: Buildings, Design, and Responsibility; 3 Formalizing and Normalizing Business Patronage of the Arts; 4 The Tensions of Patronage: Sponsorship, Brands, and Philanthropy; 5 Cultural Responsibility and the Public Good; 6 Building a Better Case for Support of Culture and the Arts: Five Recommendations; Conclusion


    Michael Bzdak is the Global Director of Employee Engagement in the office of Global Community Impact at Johnson & Johnson. His first role at Johnson & Johnson was to manage the Corporate Art Program. He received a BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University and an MA and a PhD in Art History from Rutgers University.

    "Having spent years trying to get companies who don’t get it, to act responsibly and work with others, in bliss, where the mission of Corporate Cultural Responsibility (CCR) is integrated into the fabric of the company, I can appreciate the nature of this thoughtful review of what it means to apply CCR to the work a company does. Corporate Cultural Responsibility: How Business Can Support Art, Design, and Culture is a fine exploration of this topic written by Michael Bzdak, who is a consummate believer in the principles he outlines and has lived his life applying them to his work. The only way to get meaningful change going is for everyone who works in business to understand these concepts and put them to use inside their companies."

    Chris Hacker, Former CDO Johnson & Johnson, Chair of Product Design at ArtCenter College of Design

    "Given the awesome influence of corporations in our lives, Michael Bzdak’s examination of the association between commerce and art, is particularly timely. Bzdak provides us with an honest and clear-eyed assessment of the history, current condition and suggestions for shaping the future of the relationship. In Corporate Cultural Responsibility: How Business Can Support Art, Design, and Culture, Bzdak brings decades of experience from inside a corporation with a long historical connection to the arts and the humanities (cultural responsibility) as well as a broadly established presence in the area of social responsibility. The insights and observations in this book are vital for corporate leaders as well as engaged members of the arts and culture communities. Recent events have provided a stark reminder, in case we had forgotten, that all members (stakeholders in corporate parlance) of the community are interconnected and obligated to one another. Michael Bzdak advances the conversation in this remarkable overview of the link between culture and commerce."

    Wendel A. White, Distinguished Professor of Art, Stockton University, New Jersey, USA

    "Any effort trying to overcome the traditional boundaries of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is fresh air for business – as CSR clearly failed. Culture provides a much wider narrative to elevate the debate, paving the way to talk in a different manner about the full potential of that part of business intentionally and deeply engaged in the social impact race. Culture speaks a universal language based on not only values, histories and traditions, but also creativity, empowerment, propensity and capacity to imagine: all things which build the future thinking mindset of people across different generations. A book for managers and leaders who want to aspire to a re-imagined, beautiful value creation strategy as a way to steer organizational efforts towards meaningful transformation."

    Elisa Ricciuti, Executive Director, Cottino Social Impact Campus, Turin, Italy

    "Michael Bzdak’s thoughtful, well-researched and provocative Corporate Cultural Responsibility: How Business Can Support Art, Design, and Culture delivers on an ambitious agenda to articulate the concept of Corporate Cultural Responsibility and explore the cultural dimensions of a corporation’s relationship with society. It is especially welcome, timely and necessary in the wake of the global upheaval created by the novel coronavirus along with need to address climate change, social justice and economic inequities."

    Charles A. Birnbaum, FASLA, FAAR, President and CEO, The Cultural Landscape Foundation, Washington, DC, USA

    "Michael Bzdak’s book Corporate Cultural Responsibility: How Business Can Support Art, Design, and Culture comes at a significant moment when people are questioning corporate culture, the 1%, and need for more philanthropy in this time of global crisis. As he shows, Corporate Social Responsibility has a long legacy dating back to Carnegie and his libraries and often takes shape as Corporate Cultural Responsibility. Corporations, whether through sponsorship of artful architectural programs or public programming, need to re-evaluate their efforts through the lenses of contemporary social and economic concerns. Today arts benefactors have an even more urgent task to focus on equity, sustainability, diversity, and social justice as audiences and communities demand a broad change in exhibition and performance content. Bzdak’s timely investigation of numerous case studies through published literature and first-hand research codifies, questions, and synthesizes the companies’ own views towards social responsibility as they fully realize that the public is their prime vocal critic."

    Nina Rappaport, author of Vertical Urban Factory and publications director, Yale School of Architecture, New York, USA

    "The time of the pandemic has shown how important art and culture is for humanity and what is missing without it. Although business and managers have always been involved in supporting the arts, a systematic and structured approach to corporate cultural responsibility is missing. In Corporate Cultural Responsibility: How Business Can Support Art, Design, and Culture, Michael Bzdak offers a compelling and comprehensive framework that is informed by both, practice and theory. For readers, starting from students to global managers, the book will initiate an inspiring journey to redefine the relationship between business and the arts."

    Georg von Schnurbein, Professor for Philanthropy Studies, Center for Philanthropy Studies (CEPS), University of Basel, Switzerland

    "Written during a time when art and industry found themselves taking on new forms to adapt to the insecurity and uncertainty that a global crisis delivered, this book revives the relationship between the arts and commerce and sets out a blueprint that contributes directly to the business of the sustainability agenda. Going forward from the 2020 pandemic we need a profound change in the way that societal systems behave and one of the most significant barometers of systems are corporations. Michael Bzdak throws a revolutionary idea onto the table at the start of this book, when he asks the question, 'What if there were an index that measured how much humanity a CEO embraced during his/her tenure as a leader?' Culture could be this indicator and Corporate Cultural Responsibility could deliver to the purpose of companies to more effectively and fully engage all their stakeholders in value creation. Corporate Cultural Responsibility could enable the ambitions of the United Nations Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development to become embedded into the practice of doing and being business, bringing forward the profound change that is needed to cross disciplines, and bring humanity into the centre of business. Michael Bzdak brings his in-depth appreciation of, and knowledge about the arts and his expert business leadership and strategy management to draw together a work that is a form of art. It is crafted together, spanning geographies, modalities and time, it draws together materials that have been separated. It is prescient, we need this new relationship between art and commerce to allow us to chart out our way forward in this time of change."

    Professor Liz Grant FRSE, FRCPE, MFPH, Assistant Principal and Director Global Health Academy, Co-Director Global Compassion Initiative, University of Edinburgh, Scotland

    "As our world becomes more globalized and complex, businesses should take on more diverse roles, especially ones that promotes social justice through the arts. The Nobel Prize winner in economics, Daniel Kahneman, makes the distinction between Econs and Humans. Econs are derived from the University of Chicago's model of human nature, that man and markets are wholly rational. This is reflected collectively by corporations devoted to their shareholders as the sole stakeholders of value with a vision of maximizing profit. Not only does Kahneman's research disabuse us of this model, but he calls for a more nuanced alternative. The arts and humanities have been devalued in the academy by the ascendence of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) disciplines; in the corporate world this is reflected in the tendency to embrace the Chicago school’s narrow focus on stockholders as the sole stakeholders. Michael Bzdak in this book demonstrates the need for a more expansive model of corporate responsibilities to multiple stakeholders. He argues for a robust relationship (intercourse) between corporations and the arts. This expanded vision of corporate responsibility has a holistic appeal that addresses the ills of society, the need for cultural transformation, and the call for social justice."

    Vicki Gold Levi, collector, curator, and co-author of Cuba Style with Steve Heller and Promising Paradise with Rosa Lowinger and Frank Luca, New York, USA