Origin of the word
Corporate is a word that dates from the late 15th century and is based on the Latin ‘corporatus’, which is the past participle of ‘corporare’ or ‘to form into a body’. The Latin word ‘corpus’ means ‘body’. Corporate has come to refer to a group of people that can be treated as a single entity for administrative purposes, which would explain its application in the business community.
In business, corporate is used as an adjective to describe particular practices related to large companies, such as corporate finance or corporate mergers.
The use of the word corporate has been broadened in more recent times to include anything associated with business principles or a business outlook, sometimes with a negative viewpoint. Hence the use of the term corporate greed to describe the growth of a business to the extent that it dominates the market at the expense of rivals, customers and perhaps even the common good. Corporate greed has been blamed for the cutting of corners by various institutions, resulting in pollution and climate change, major bankruptcies, low wage economies and other ills.
Another modern use of the term is corporate types, a phrase that describes the appearance of individuals wearing formal business attire. In a similar vein, the term corporate life has entered the lexicon to describe the characteristics associated with working in an environment that has rich rewards but can be highly stressful.
Corporate social responsibility has come to the fore in recent decades. A form of self-regulation, corporate social responsibility entails the adoption of social and environmental causes and goals by a company with the dual objective of aiding corporate missions and presenting a vision of what the company stands for in the broader community.
The term corporate welfare has been created to describe the awarding of incentives by government, such as tax breaks and grants, to companies to aid their development.
1. relating to large companies, or to a particular large company
2. shared by or including all the members of a group.