Publication Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

1-2016

Abstract

This study extends the literature on symbolic management by incorporating the role of stakeholder perceptions into the context of corporate philanthropy. In particular, we differentiate between the quantitative (generous giving) and qualitative (innovative giving) aspects of giving. We argue that although stakeholders may perceive both types of giving as being substantive rather than symbolic, innovative giving is likely to be perceived as more substantive than generous giving is and, thus, has a greater impact on firm value. Furthermore, stakeholder perceptions of corporate philanthropy as being more symbolic or substantive are influenced by firm characteristics—the type of products or services that a firm provides and the life-cycle stage that the firm is in—which provide stakeholders with a context to better assess the nature of a firm’s philanthropic actions and the substantiveness of its giving. We find support for our predictions using a sample covering U.S. firms’ philanthropic activities over a 19-year period.

Keywords

philanthropy, symbolic management, stakeholders perceptions, financial performance

Discipline

Business | Business Law, Public Responsibility, and Ethics | Strategic Management Policy

Research Areas

Strategy and Organisation

Publication

Organization Science

Volume

27

Issue

1

First Page

173

Last Page

188

ISSN

1047-7039

Identifier

10.1287/orsc.2015.1030

Publisher

INFORMS

Embargo Period

2-9-2016

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Additional URL

http://doi.org/10.1287/orsc.2015.1030

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