Implications for Theory and Practice of Philanthropy in Family Businesses

[We’re pleased to welcome Dr. Alfredo De Massis who collaborated with Giovanna Campopiano and Francesco Chirico on their paper “Firm Philanthropy in Small and Medium-Sized Family Firms: The Effects of Family Involvement in Ownership and Management” from Family Business Review.]

FBR_C1_revised authors color.inddFirm philanthropy is a relevant topic, at times considered at odds with corporations and their profitability goals. Notwithstanding, firms nowadays are involved with charity, donating their extra money, letting their employees spend part of their time in social initiatives and establishing foundations. Both from the literature and from our personal experience it emerges that for a great number of these firms families play an important role, so that this research idea has been triggered. Particularly small and medium-sized family firms have been the focus of our analysis, as extant research has focused mostly on large companies, and smaller family firms are usually more committed to their local communities and proximate stakeholders.

This research has shown that family involvement in the business is crucial and it engenders distinctive dynamics within the shareholders and the management group that affect engagement in firm philanthropy. The intersection and overlap of family and business systems engender counterintuitive issues related to the behavior of these firms with respect to firm philanthropy.

This study can be considered a pioneering contribution at the crossroads of the family business and philanthropy literatures, and our hope is that it will stimulate further research on this topic. The impact of family firms’ engagement in philanthropy on performance or on firm’s reputation, as well as the relationship between the institutional context and the firm’s behavior are just a few examples of research directions deserving attention in the near future. Finally, a number of practical implications derive from the results of this study: family firms’ owners and managers may develop strategies to engage in philanthropy, if they believe that their firms should be involved in initiatives that reflect the personal motivations and values of these business families.

Click here to read “Firm Philanthropy in Small and Medium-Sized Family Firms: The Effects of Family Involvement in Ownership and Management” from Family Business Review. Want to know about all the latest research from Family Business Review? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

Giovanna Campopiano1Giovanna Campopiano is an assistant professor at the Chair of Business Administration and Family Entrepreneurship at the University of Witten/Herdecke, Germany. Her research interests mainly focus on management issues in Family Business in relation to growth, performance, corporate social responsibility, sustainability, and entrepreneurial activities.

Alfredo De MassisAlfredo De Massis is the director of the Centre for Family Business at the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development (IEED) of Lancaster University Management School (UK) and a former professor in the area of family business at University of Bergamo (Italy), where he cofounded the Center for Young and Family Enterprise (CYFE) that he ran as deputy director until October 2013. He has been STEP Global Board member and currently serves as Chairman of the STEP European Leadership Council of the Global STEP Project for Family Enterprising. His research is focused on innovation, organizational goals, and social and behavioral issues in the context of family firms and enterprising families.

ChiricoFrancesco Chirico is an associate professor at Jönköping International Business School (JIBS), Center for Family Enterprise and Ownership (CeFEO). His research stands on the intersection of entrepreneurship and strategy with a special focus on family-controlled firms. It explores the resource management processes and exit strategies that affect the realization of competitive advantage and value creation in organizations.

Top Five: Business & Society

BAS_v50_72ppiRGB_150pixWThe current most-read articles from Business & Society cover topics including CSR, the UN Global Compact, gender inequality and more. These articles — some new, some classic — are free to access through June 8 using the links below. Please share and enjoy!

Archie B. Carroll
Corporate Social Responsibility: Evolution of a Definitional Construct
September 1999

Marc Orlitzky, Donald S. Siegel, and David A. Waldman
Strategic Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Sustainability
March 2011

Wendy Chapple and Jeremy Moon
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in Asia: A Seven-Country Study of CSR Web Site Reporting
December 2005

Andreas Rasche, Sandra Waddock, and Malcolm McIntosh
The United Nations Global Compact: Retrospect and Prospect
March 2013

Maureen A. Kilgour
The Global Compact and Gender Inequality: A Work in Progress
March 2013

Stay abreast of the latest scholarship on social issues and ethics, and their impact and influence on organizations: subscribe to the BAS RSS feed, and click here to receive e-alerts about new articles and issues published online before they’re in print.

Top Five: Journal of Macromarketing

What is a marketing ideology, and what is the marketer’s role in contemporary culture? These and more are among the questions explored in the current top-read articles from the Journal of Macromarketing, which examines important social issues, how they are affected by marketing, and how society influences the conduct of marketing. These articles are freely available to access using the links below through May 9:

JMMK_new C1 template.inddSidney J. Levy and Marius K. Luedicke
From Marketing Ideology to Branding Ideology
March 2013

A. Fuat Fırat
Marketing: Culture Institutionalized
March 2013

Robert V. Kozinets, Andrea Hemetsberger, and Hope Jensen Schau
The Wisdom of Consumer Crowds: Collective Innovation in the Age of Networked Marketing
December 2008

Erik Assadourian
Transforming Cultures: From Consumerism to Sustainability
June 2010

John Thøgersen
Country Differences in Sustainable Consumption: The Case of Organic Food
June 2010

Stay on top of the latest macromarketing research and trends: subscribe to JMK’s RSS feed, and click here to receive e-alerts about new articles and issues published online before they’re in print.

Time to Reverse the Sustainability Crisis

Editor’s note: The new issue of Organization & Environment (OAE) is now available online! We are delighted to welcome Mark Starik of San Francisco State University and Patricia Kanashiro of George Washington University, who published the lead article, “Toward a Theory of Sustainability Management: Uncovering and Integrating the Nearly Obvious.” Click here to access the full issue free through March 15.

The inspiration for this article was the relentless, continuous, and distressing news about both environmental degradation and socio-economic deprivation that most of us receive on at leaUntitledst a day-to-day basis, which we think should prompt both sustainability academics and practitioners to do something differently in order to help reverse these sustainability crises.  We proposed that, if organization/management theory has any relevance to practice (and, thereby, to results), and, if our current organization/management theories do not appear to be up to the task of assisting in this vital transformation toward sustainability, then new theories of sustainability management apparently need to be developed, considered, tested, and applied.

oaeWe think many sustainability researchers (both academic and non-academic) have “bent over backwards” trying to use traditional organization/management theories to help guide practice for more effective sustainable results, and some of these have been stellar in quality.  But, they do not appear to be providing enough of a positive impact on practice and results to reverse our collective environmental and socio-economic looming catastrophes.

So, our proposed sustainability management theory, which we think is one of many such possibilities, suggests that the more frequently, broadly, deeply, genuinely, competently, and systematically that individuals, organizations, and societies are aware of, think about, and act on sustainability issues, the more likely it is that eventually the results of those actions will be more sustainable  (which we describe as the capacity to advance long-term environmental and socio-economic quality of life) and will be so on a significant scale.  We assert that what we collectively appear to need to move toward, including at the individual, organizational, and societal levels, is to immerse ourselves in the rationales for environmental and socio-economic sustainability and to identify how we can practice effective approaches as often and as widely as possible to make a significant positive sustainability impact.

Regarding the potential for our article to influence future directions in research and practice, our intent was and hope is that the article will generate multiple conversations about the need for sustainability management theories, what these theories might entail that is either similar to or different from ours, and, perhaps most importantly, how any sustainability management theories that are found to be effective can be applied as soon, as widely, and as often as possible.  We welcome all researchers (both academic and practitioner) to develop and test their own theories of sustainability management and to collaborate with one another in evolving those theories and, from local to global levels, in making a substantial, positive sustainability difference.

Click here to read the article, Toward a Theory of Sustainability Management: Uncovering and Integrating the Nearly Obvious,” in the new issue of Organization & Environment (OAE). All articles are available free through March 15. 

starikMark Starik is a professor of management and sustainability and the director of the Center for Ethical and Sustainable Business in the College of Business at San Francisco State University. He researches and teaches in the areas of business environmental and energy management and policy; has consulted with various business, government, and nonprofit organizations; and is a coeditor of Organization & Environment. He holds a doctorate in strategic management from the University of Georgia.

kanashiroPatricia Kanashiro is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Strategic Management and Public Policy in the School of Business of the George Washington University. Her research interests are in sustainability, corporate governance, and business strategies for the poor in developing countries.

Call for Papers: Social Issues in the Family Enterprise

Call for Papers
Family Business Review – Special Issue
September 2014

Social Issues in the Family Enterprise

Guest Editors:

Justin Craig, Northeastern University (
Clay Dibrell, The University of Mississippi (, USA

Don Neubaum, Oregon State University (, USA
Anita Van Gils, Maastricht University (, The Netherlands

Launched in 1988, Family Business Review is an interdisciplinary scholarly forum publishing conceptual, theoretical and empirical research that aims to advance the understanding of family enterprise around the world.

Much attention is now focused on societal concerns like global warming and the persistence of corporate misconduct. Researchers and practitioners alike have grown increasingly interested in social issues, such as corporate social responsibility, environmental stewardship, triple bottom line accounting, and social entrepreneurship.  Friedman’s credo of “The business of business is business” is growing less acceptable as owners, managers, employees, policy makers and the public at large are becoming increasingly uneasy with businesses pure profit motive.  Today, society challenges businesses to not only provide low-cost, high-quality sustainable products and services in an ethical and socially responsible manner, but also to help solve some of the globe’s most pressing social problems (e.g., hunger, lack of adequate healthcare, and poverty). Family enterprises need to be genuinely aware of social concerns in order to survive.

Research in social issues and corporate social responsibility has frequently examined the relationships between governance and ownership structure and the social outcomes of organizations.  While research related to stakeholder management, corporate social responsibility, philanthropy, and social issues has been widely conducted, relatively little of this research has been done within family firms.  Given that family enterprises reflect unique ownership and governance structures, and often possess unique goals and objectives (e.g., legacy building, transmission of intergenerational wealth, providing employment to family members), we believe they represent an interesting and timely context in which to study social issues.

We invite papers that give serious consideration to the topic of social issues in the family enterprise. We are particularly interested in articles that address fundamental questions such as, “What affect do family firms’ goals and ownership/governance structures have on those organizations’ behavior concerning social issues?” “Do family enterprises manage their internal and external stakeholders differently than publicly and/or privately held organizations?” “What theories are most applicable (e.g., stewardship theory, stakeholder theory, institutional theory, etc.)?” and “Do family enterprises have a higher appreciation for social issues than their public/and or private counterparts?”

Family Business Review invites authors to submit manuscripts for a special issue on Social Issues in the Family Enterprise. We welcome a wide range of articles dealing with important issues related to social responsibility, social issues, environmental sustainability and social entrepreneurship.  Empirical research using qualitative, quantitative or mixed methods is encouraged. While case studies that are theoretically and empirically grounded are welcomed, preference will be given to articles which test theory using a broad base of family enterprises. We will also consider conceptual papers and develop innovative contributions which improve our understanding of the topic. Thus, we are looking for papers that contribute to the creation of a solid evidence base concerning the interplay between social issue management and family enterprises. Potential topics of interest include but are not limited to the following:

  • The attitude of external/financial stakeholders to internal/family constituents.
  • Influence of taxation on giving patterns of family enterprises.
  • Family foundations as stewards of wealth.
  • Family enterprises and social entrepreneurship
  • The influence of cultural and religious beliefs/differences in social issues.
  • The influence of gender in the leadership, selection, and engagement of social issues.
  • The influence of national culture on the management of social issues
  • The influence of generational involvement in social issues.
  • The influence of entrepreneurial traits, attitudes and cognitive models on social issues.
  • Giving habits/behaviors of publicly-traded family businesses
  • Socially progressive employment patterns and social innovation in human resource practices in family versus non-family enterprises.
  • Family enterprise philosophy toward social issues as a human resource management practice.
  • Triple Bottom Line of people, planet, and profit.
  • Family versus enterprise conflicts related to social wealth creation.
  • Family enterprises motives to engage in philanthropy or social entrepreneurial behaviors.
  • Strategic decision making for developing and implementing social goals in family enterprises

Submission Process: Manuscripts must be submitted through the Family Business Review web site ( indicating “Special Issue – Social Issues” as the manuscript type.

FBR Submission Guidelines: FBR is open to many different formats and styles of presentation. Manuscripts should not be more than 35 typed double spaced pages, all inclusive, using 12-point Times New Roman font and one inch margins. All documents submitted should be Microsoft Word files. Please remember to use APA guidelines.

Deadline: Manuscripts must be submitted by May 31, 2013. The Special Issue will be published in Sept. 2014.

Papers will undergo double-blind, developmental reviews by a special review board tailored to this Special Issue. Final acceptance of approved papers will be contingent on incorporating reviewers’ feedback to the satisfaction of the editors.

Social Issues in Management

Social Issues in Management – As seen in The New York Times and on National Public Radio

Is it Time to Reconsider Culture and Poverty? What does this mean for strategic management and policy decisions? Read the May volume of The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science.

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