Body of Knowledge

Background

ACCP has three pillars to support our mission to empower corporate citizenship leaders to improve the world and strengthen their companies. Those pillars are: Connect; Cultivate; and Champion.

The Connect and Cultivate pillars are supported through ACCP’s programs and virtual platforms. The Champion pillar is a bit more complex.

ACCP asked the question – how do we Champion the profession? This question took us on a journey, one that we will share with you here.

What is a Profession?

The first thing we needed to do was understand what constitutes a profession.

That led to some very interesting discussion, starting with: Is Corporate Citizenship a profession?

Since we are being candid, there was a conversation before that which asked – what is the name of the profession? Is it Corporate Social Responsibility, Corporate Responsibility, Corporate Giving, Corporate Philanthropy, Community Affairs, Social Investing, or any one of a dozen other names that describe what you do? To answer that question, we looked at our membership to see which term was used the most. Corporate Citizenship was the winner.

Now, back to our question, is Corporate Citizenship a profession. To answer that, we looked to define profession. The Business Dictionary defines a profession as: Occupation, practice, or vocation requiring mastery of a complex set of knowledge and skills through formal education and/or practical experience. Every organized profession (accounting, law, medicine, etc.) is governed by its respective professional body.

On the face of it, Corporate Citizenship does require knowledge and skills and there is formal education available. Certainly, many practitioners gain a good deal of their knowledge and skills through practical experience. Currently, there is no formal body that governs the profession.

Formalizing the Corporate Citizenship Profession

That led us to delve even deeper and look at other professions and their professional associations to understand how they formalized their profession.

We found that the first step to formalize a profession is to create a Body of Knowledge. If you aren’t familiar with that term, don’t feel badly, neither were we. A body of knowledge (BoK) is the complete set of concepts, terms and activities that make up a professional domain, as defined by the relevant learned society or professional association. It is a type of knowledge representation by any knowledge organization.

The Corporate Citizenship Book of Knowledge

Last year, ACCP began the process of constructing the BoK for Corporate Citizenship. ACCP’s education committee met in 2017 to draft a document that sought to compile a compendium of what an individual must know to successfully accomplish work in a Corporate Citizenship role.

Once the committee had completed the draft, ACCP convened multiple focus groups to provide feedback. The committee then incorporated the feedback from the groups into the BoK.

On February 14th, ACCP will open a two week review period to allow individuals to read and make comments before the document is finalized and released.

The BoK is a not a static document. ACCP’s education committee will be charged with reviewing and revising the BoK on a periodic basis.

Which brings us back to our question of how to champion the Corporate Citizenship profession. Our first step was to ensure that the profession, like all other professions, had a common set of knowledge statements. The BoK will further legitimize the profession. To be taken seriously as a valued corporate team member, we need to take ourselves seriously. With the BoK established, ACCP can align training and development opportunities and programs that serve to deepen the skills needed to thrive in the position.