David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Business Ethics 18 (4):372-388 (2009)
This paper explores corporate charitable giving disclosures in order to question the extent to which corporations can claim that their philanthropy activities are charitable at all. Exploration of these issues is carried out by means of a tropological analysis that focuses on the different linguistic tropes within the philanthropy disclosures of 52 companies, namely metaphor and synecdoche. The results reveal a number of complex and contradictory things. Primarily, the master metaphor of 'altruism' projected by the corporate disclosures is ideologically at odds with the more business case-oriented discourse that shapes the disclosures. This contradiction is put into starker contrast by the existence of a root metaphor, whereby the recipients of corporate philanthropy are presented as the 'deserving poor'. Synecdochal devices are present within the corporate disclosures, whereby employee initiatives that are independent of corporate strategies are used to confer attributes onto the disclosures that bolster the master metaphor of 'altruism'. As such, corporate philanthropy is presented by the paper as a structurally incoherent discourse and yet one that has implications for both extracting greater value from various societal groups and in defining, on behalf of civil society, what is a worthy cause.
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References found in this work BETA
Barbara R. Bartkus, Sara A. Morris & Bruce Seifert (2002). Governance and Corporate Philanthropy Restraining Robin Hood? Business and Society 41 (3):319-344.
Stephen Brammer & Andrew Millington (2004). Stakeholder Pressure, Organizational Size, and the Allocation of Departmental Responsibility for the Management of Corporate Charitable Giving. Business and Society 43 (3):268-295.
Stephen Brammer & Andrew Millington (2003). The Evolution of Corporate Charitable Contributions in the UK Between 1989 and 1999: Industry Structure and Stakeholder Influences. [REVIEW] Business Ethics 12 (3):216–228.
A. Buchholtz, A. Carroll & D. Saiia (2003). Philanthropy as Strategy. Business and Society 42 (2):169-201.
David Campbell, Geoff Moore & Matthias Metzger (2002). Corporate Philanthropy in the U.K. 1985–2000 Some Empirical Findings. Journal of Business Ethics 39 (1-2):29 - 41.
Citations of this work BETA
Anne-Claire Pache & Arthur Gautier (2015). Research on Corporate Philanthropy: A Review and Assessment. Journal of Business Ethics 126 (3):343-369.
Kellie Liket & Ana Simaens (2013). Battling the Devolution in the Research on Corporate Philanthropy. Journal of Business Ethics:1-24.
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