Research on Corporate Philanthropy: A Review and Assessment

Abstract

We review some 30 years of academic research on corporate philanthropy, taking stock of the current state of research about this rising practice and identifying gaps and puzzles that deserve further investigation. To do so, we examine a total of 162 academic papers in the fields of management, economics, sociology, and public policy, and analyze their content in a systematic fashion. We distinguish four main lines of inquiry within the literature: the essence of corporate philanthropy, its different drivers, the way it is organized, and its likely outcomes. After reviewing the main findings of the literature, we build on several research gaps to highlight directions for future research on corporate philanthropy with an interest in strengthening our understanding of this fascinating phenomenon at the crossroads of business and society.

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Abbreviations

CEO:

Chief Executive Officer

CSR:

Corporate Social Responsibility

NGO:

Non-Governmental Organization

SME:

Small and Medium-sized Enterprise

UK:

United Kingdom

US:

United States

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Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank the editor and two anonymous reviewers who provided feedback and suggestions to an earlier version of the article. We are also thankful to Amanda Williams for her early assistance in reviewing the literature.

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Gautier, A., Pache, AC. Research on Corporate Philanthropy: A Review and Assessment. J Bus Ethics 126, 343–369 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-013-1969-7

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Keywords

  • Corporate philanthropy
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Corporate giving
  • Corporate contributions
  • Literature review
  • Meta-analysis