Major Papers


Corporate philanthropy, Strategic philanthropy


A systematic review of the corporate philanthropy literature is conducted. A sample of 60 academic articles was created and analyzed. The sample was examined to (1) develop a definition of corporate philanthropy contrasting it with related concepts; (2) review how corporate philanthropy has been examined theoretically; (3) review how it has been operationalized and determine commonly examined control, independent and dependent variables; (4) the societal implications of corporate philanthropy and (5) identify gaps in the literature and areas for future research. Findings suggest there is little cohesion in the literature regarding a standard definition, wide use of theories to situate corporate philanthropy, and several narrow conceptualizations with opportunities for an empirical and theoretical investigation to enhance the understanding of corporate philanthropy. The gaps identified in the literature review consist of (1) the further study of corporate philanthropy as an independent variable to determine the impacts of corporate action; (2) whether there is a certain amount of optimality associated with corporate donations; (3) whether there are cultural limitations to the findings of attitude towards corporate philanthropy, and (4) a fuller study of the risks and/or benefits posed by corporate philanthropy to society.

Primary Advisor

Kent Walker

Program Reader

Francine Schlosser

Degree Name

Master of Business Administration


Business Administration

Document Type

Major Research Paper

Convocation Year