Social Evaluations in Organizational Philanthropy

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This mixed-method dissertation explores how companies manage competing tensions in their corporate social responsibility platforms, with an emphasis on the activity of corporate philanthropy. While existing literature has overwhelmingly focused on the post-grant financial effects of corporate philanthropy, I shift our attention to various internal contestations between social impact and business impact that influence how companies structure their involvement in the nonprofit sector and society more broadly. The first two qualitative chapters explore the process of grantmaking. In chapter one, I investigate how corporate grantmakers manage long-term institutional complexity that persists due to their seemingly contradictory professional positioning in both the corporate and nonprofit fields. In the second chapter, I provide a novel organizing framework for understanding how some grantmaking processes come to be more focused on social impact, while others come to be more focused on social influence. I take a broader view in chapter three, using statistical analysis to provide evidence that firms facing environmental controversies increase their externally-focused philanthropic giving but decrease internally-oriented environmental practices. Across the three chapters, I contribute to scholarship on corporate philanthropy, nonmarket strategy, institutional complexity, and impression management.

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  • 10/14/2019
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