Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 54, Issue 2, pp 149–161 | Cite as

Does corporate philanthropy exist?: business giving to the arts in the U.K.

  • Lance Moir
  • Richard Taffler


This paper addresses the question of the existence of corporate philanthropy. It proposes a framework for analysing corporate philanthropy along the dimensions of business/society interest and primary/secondary stakeholder focus. The framework is then applied in order to understand business involvement with the arts in the U.K. A unique dataset of 60 texts which describe different firms' involvement with the Arts is analysed using formal content analysis to uncover the motivations for business involvement. Cluster analysis is then used in order to identify motivational groupings. Two broad types of involvement are identified – advertisers and legitimators. Only in one case of the 60 is there the potential to observe pure altruism. The contribution of this paper is twofold. First, it provides a clear framework to understand the motivations for corporate giving and applies this using empirical data. Secondly, this research finds little evidence, if at all, of corporate philanthropy in the context of firms giving to the Arts in the U.K.

Arts Charity Legitimacy Philanthropy Political Stakeholder 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Arts & Business: 2000, Business Investment in the Arts 1998/99, London.Google Scholar
  2. Campbell, D., G. Moore and M. Metzger: 2002, 'Cor-porate Philanthropy in the U.K. 1985 2000: Some Empirical Findings', Journal of Business Ethics 39, 29-41.Google Scholar
  3. Clarkson, M. B. E.: 1995 'A Stakeholder Framework for Analyzing and Evaluating Corporate Social Perfor-mance', Academy of Management Review 20(1), 2-117.Google Scholar
  4. Cowen, S. S., L. B. Ferreri and L. D. Parker: 1987, 'The Impact of Corporate Characteristics on Social Responsibility Disclosure: A Typology and Fre-quency-Based Analysis', Accounting, Organizations and Society 12(2), 111–122.Google Scholar
  5. Denzin, N. K. and Y. S. Lincoln: 1998, Collecting and Interpreting Qualitative Materials (Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks).Google Scholar
  6. Donaldson, T. and T. W. Dunfee: 1999,Ties That Bind (Harvard Business School Press, Boston).Google Scholar
  7. Freeman, R. E.: 1984, Strategic Management: A Stakeholder Approach (Pitman Publishing, Boston).Google Scholar
  8. Friedman, M.: 1962, Capitalism and Freedom (University of Chicago Press, Chicago).Google Scholar
  9. Fry, L. W., G. D. Keim and R. E. Meiners: 1982, 'Corporate Contributions: Altruistic or For-Profit?', Academy of Management Journal 25(1), 94–106.Google Scholar
  10. Gray, R., R. Kouhy and S. Lavers: 1995, 'Corporate Social and Environmental Reporting: A Review of the Literature and a Longitudinal Study of UK Disclosure', Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal 8(2), 47-77.Google Scholar
  11. Gray, R., D. Owen and C. Adams: 1996, Accounting and Accountability; Changes and Challenges in Corporate Social and Environmental Reporting (Prentice Hall Europe, Harlow).Google Scholar
  12. Guthrie, J. and L. D. Parker: 1989, 'Corporate Social Reporting: a Rebuttal of Legitimacy Theory', Accounting and Business Research 19(76), 343–352.Google Scholar
  13. Holmes, S. L.: 1976, 'Executive Perceptions of Corporate Social Responsibility', Business Horizons 19(3), 34–40.Google Scholar
  14. Kirchberg, V.: 1995, 'Arts Sponsorship and the State of the City', Journal of Cultural Economics 19, 305–320.Google Scholar
  15. Krebs, D. L.: 1970, 'Altruism An Examination of the Concept and a Review of the Literature', Psychological Bulletin 73(4), 258–302.Google Scholar
  16. Mescon, T. S. and D. J. Tilson: 1987, 'Corporate Phi-lanthropy: A Strategic Approach to the Bottom-Line', California Management Review 29(2), 49–61.Google Scholar
  17. Miles, M. B. and A. M. Huberman: 1994, Qualitative Data Analysis: An Expanded Sourcebook, 2nd Edition (Sage Publications Inc, Thousand Oaks).Google Scholar
  18. Milne, M. J. and R. W. Adler, 1999, 'Exploring the Reliability of Social and Environmental Disclosures Content Analysis', Accounting, Auditing and Account-ability Journal 12(2), 237–256.Google Scholar
  19. Mitchell, R. K., B. R. Agle and D. J. Wood: 1997, 'Toward a Theory of Stakeholder Identification and Salience: Defining the Principle of Who and What Really Counts', Academy of Management Review 22(4), 853–886.Google Scholar
  20. Mitnick, B. M.: 2000, 'Commitment, Revelation, and the Testaments of Belief: The Metrics of Measurement of Corporate Social Performance', Business and Society 39(4), 419–465.Google Scholar
  21. Moore, G.: 1995, 'Corporate Community Investment in the UK Investment or Atonement?', Business Ethics: A European Review 4, 171–178.Google Scholar
  22. Navarro, P.: 1988, 'Why Do Corporations Give to Charity?', Journal of Business 61(1), 65–93.Google Scholar
  23. Neiheisel, S. R.: 1994, Corporate Strategy and the Politics of Goodwill: A Political Analysis of Corporate Philanthropy in America (Peter Lang Publishing Inc., New York).Google Scholar
  24. Owen, D. L., T. A. Swift, C. Humphrey and M. Bow-erman:2000, 'The New Social Audits: Account-ability, Managerial Capture or the Agenda of Social Champions?', The European Accounting Review 9(1), 81–98.Google Scholar
  25. Pava, M. L. and J. Krausz: 1996, 'The Association Be-tween Corporate Social Responsibility and Financial Performance: The Paradox of Social Cost', Journal of Business Ethics 15(3), 337–347.Google Scholar
  26. Saiia, D. H.: 2001, 'Philanthropy and Corporate Citi-zenship: Strategic Philanthropy Is Good Corporate Citizenship', The Journal of Corporate Citizenship 2, 57–74.Google Scholar
  27. Saiia, D. H., A. B. Carroll and A. K. Buchholtz: 2003, 'Philanthropy as Strategy: When Corporate Charity "Begins at Home", Business and Society 42(2), 169–201.Google Scholar
  28. Shaw, P.: 1999, 'Re-creating Communities: Business, The Arts and Regeneration, London', Arts & Business.Google Scholar
  29. Smith, C.: 1994, 'The New Corporate Philanthropy', Harvard Business Review 1994, 105–116.Google Scholar
  30. Unerman, J.: 2000, 'Reflections on Quantification in Corporate Social Reporting Content Analysis', Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal 13(5), 667–680.Google Scholar
  31. Useem, M.: 1984, The Inner Circle (Oxford University Press, New York).Google Scholar
  32. Useem, M.: 1991, 'Corporate Funding of the Arts in a Turbulent Environment', Nonprofit Management & Leadership 1(4), 329–343.Google Scholar
  33. Wolfe, R.: 1991, 'The Use of Content Analysis to Assess Corporate Social Responsibility', Research in Corporate Social Performance and Policy 12, 281–307.Google Scholar
  34. Young, D. R. and D. F. Burlingame: 1996, 'Paradigm Lost. Research Toward a New Understanding of Corporate Philanthropy', in D. F. Burlingame and D. R. Young (eds.), Corporate Philanthropy at the Crossroads (Indiana University Press, Bloomington), pp. 158–176.Google Scholar
  35. Ze´ghal, D. and S. A. Ahmed: 1990, 'Comparison of Social Responsibility Information Disclosure Media Used by Canadian Firms', Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal 3(1), 38-53.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lance Moir
    • 1
  • Richard Taffler
    • 1
  1. 1.Cranfield School of ManagementCranfield UniversityMKU.K

Personalised recommendations