Corporate philanthropy (CP) is a growing area of academic inquiry in management and business ethics. To date, empirical and theoretical studies have primarily examined the “business case” for CP in two distinct ways: understanding the motives of corporate executives and measuring the outcomes for corporations in terms of stakeholder relations and financial performance. Despite important advances in these areas, we note that scholarly conversations on CP face a deadlock owing to the theoretical limitations in determining corporate donors’ genuine motivations and extrapolating a firm causal link between CP and corporate financial performance. This paper identifies the difficulties faced by extant research and proposes a way forward by shifting scholars’ attention to an important yet overlooked facet of CP: outcomes for beneficiaries and, ultimately, long-term impact, i.e., the lasting changes, whether positive or negative, intentional or not, that CP brings about for individuals, communities, organizations, society, and/or the environment. It identifies key areas and questions for which new theories and empirical studies could be developed, with the potential to reinvigorate CP research beyond a one-sided focus on corporate interests.
EABRASU, M. et GAUTIER, A. (2021). Past the business case: Reorienting corporate philanthropy research towards outcomes and impact. Dans: 2021 Academy of Mangement Annual Meeting Best Paper Proceedings. Academy of Management.