What do we know about corporate philanthropy? A review and research directions

Business Ethics, the Environment and Responsibility 30 (3):262-286 (2021)
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Abstract

During the past decades, academics and practitioners have been extensively focusing on corporate philanthropy as an important part of corporate social responsibility and a vast number of papers have been published on this topic in various disciplines. To have a better understanding of the evolution of corporate philanthropy, this paper critically reviews some 60 years of research covering 228 corporate philanthropy documents (including 214 journal articles, 5 dissertations, and 9 books and book chapters) across and between disciplines, and analyzes their content in a systematic and comprehensive manner. A multi‐level and multidisciplinary theoretical framework that synthesizes and integrates the corporate philanthropy literature at micro‐, meso‐, and macro‐levels of analysis is offered. Specifically, the framework presents antecedents, intermediaries (moderators and mediators), consequences of corporate philanthropy, and the underlying mechanisms of the corporate philanthropy–firm performance relationship. This paper helps bridge important knowledge gaps of corporate philanthropy and its relation with firm performance by studying corporate philanthropy at a multi‐level of analysis and applying diverse theoretical frameworks of corporate philanthropy. The paper concludes by offering several suggestions for future research on corporate philanthropy.

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