Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 122, Issue 3, pp 523–536

Strategic and Moral Dilemmas of Corporate Philanthropy in Developing Countries: Heineken in Sub-Saharan Africa



This case study illustrates the dilemmas facing multinational companies in meeting social challenges in Sub-Saharan Africa (especially health-related ones). It also discusses the purpose, responsibilities and limitations of business involvement in social development. From a business standpoint, social challenges in developing countries differ greatly from those in nations where governments or markets effectively provide for the population’s health needs. The case illustrates what led a multinational to set up a corporate foundation and focuses on three strategic and operational dilemmas it ran up against. The case discussion shows that the ethical issues intertwined with these dilemmas are best understood using a variety of ethical approaches. We also show that Ethics of Care are just as relevant to analysing corporate social responsibility and corporate philanthropy as the Deontological and Utilitarianism theories commonly used in business ethics.


Corporate philanthropy Development Health-care Heineken Ethical theories Ethics of Care Sub-Saharan Africa 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Rotterdam School of ManagementErasmus UniversityRotterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.ESADE Business SchoolRamon Lull UniversityBarcelonaSpain

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