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Different Drivers: Exploring employee involvement in corporate philanthropy

Breeze, Beth, Wiepking, Pamala (2018) Different Drivers: Exploring employee involvement in corporate philanthropy. Journal of Business Ethics, 165 . pp. 453-467. (doi:10.1007/s10551-018-4093-x) (KAR id:70837)


Corporate Philanthropy (CP) is multi-dimensional, differs between sectors and involves both individual and organizational decision-making to achieve business and social goals. However, the CP literature characteristically focuses on strategic decisions made by business leaders and ignores the role of employees, especially those in lower status and lower paid positions. To redress this imbalance, we conducted a qualitative study of employees’ involvement in CP processes in ten workplaces in the South East of England to identify whether and how they are involved in CP decision-making and to capture their perspective on the nature of CP and the benefits generated by such activities. We specifically chose to study workplaces where employees are involved in the actual execution of the CP strategy, prioritising companies with a visible presence on the high street. The results illustrate the benefits of involving employees in CP decision-making, which we argue derives in part from the ‘liminal-like states’ that typify CP activities organised by shop floor staff, involving the temporary overturning of hierarchies, humanising of workplaces and opportunities for lower-level staff to prioritise their personal philanthropic preferences and signal their charitable identity to colleagues and customers. Whilst the data also suggests that CP decision-making remains predominantly top-down and driven by profit-oriented goals, we conclude that employees should be involved in choosing charitable causes as well as in designing and implementing workplace fundraising, in order to maximise the advantages of CP for the company and for wider society.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1007/s10551-018-4093-x
Uncontrolled keywords: corporate philanthropy (CP) corporate social responsibility (CSR); employee involvement
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5351 Business
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare > HV27 Philanthropists
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research
Funders: [37325] UNSPECIFIED
Depositing User: Beth Breeze
Date Deposited: 07 Dec 2018 17:21 UTC
Last Modified: 04 Mar 2024 18:18 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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