Does corporate philanthropy exist?: Business giving to the arts in the U.K.

Lance Moir, Richard J. Taffler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper addresses the question of the existence of corporate philanthropy. It proposes a framework for analysing corporate philanthropy along the dimensions of business/society interest and primary/secondary stakeholder focus. The framework is then applied in order to understand business involvement with the arts in the U.K. A unique dataset of 60 texts which describe different firms' involvement with the Arts is analysed using formal content analysis to uncover the motivations for business involvement. Cluster analysis is then used in order to identify motivational groupings. Two broad types of involvement are identified - advertisers and legitimators. Only in one case of the 60 is there the potential to observe pure altruism. The contribution of this paper is twofold. First, it provides a clear framework to understand the motivations for corporate giving and applies this using empirical data. Secondly, this research finds little evidence, if at all, of corporate philanthropy in the context of firms giving to the Arts in the U.K. © 2004 Kluwer Academic Publishers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-161
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • Arts
  • Charity
  • Legitimacy
  • Philanthropy
  • Political
  • Stakeholder


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