Purpose – The aim of this paper is to examine how companies officially recognized in Russia as corporate philanthropy leaders actually introduce, implement, and evaluate philanthropic activities. Focusing on the connections between these activities and corporate strategy, the paper seeks to investigate the main trends in corporate philanthropy development over the period 2007‐2010, assuming that corporate philanthropy is an integral part of corporate social performance. Design/methodology/approach – A theoretical framework is based on the recognition of “strategic” philanthropy as a part as well as the main trend in current philanthropic activities of leading companies. The analysis as such is settled on survey data collected from participants in the national “Corporate Philanthropy Leaders” award competition conducted by the Russian business newspaper Vedomosti , PwC, and the non‐profit grant‐making organization “Donors Forum” from 2008 to 2011. Findings – The results testify to strengthening connections between corporate philanthropy and corporate strategy, enhancing the strategic nature of philanthropy as such. Here the responding companies significantly diversified the directions of their philanthropic activities, whereas the distribution of corporate philanthropy by form showed a high stability that was practically unaffected by the economic crisis of 2008‐2009. A common practice is the professionalization of managing corporate philanthropy, with a growing role for CSR departments. Research limitations/implications – The study focuses on the activities of leading Russian companies participating in the national “Corporate Philanthropy Leaders” award competition, thereby restricting the analysis of non‐participants. Moreover, the evolution of competition surveys and their methodology as well as relatively low repetition of participants also restrict the degree of generalization. Future research could be based on the findings of this study to create hypotheses to be tested on a broader sample of Russian companies. Originality/value – The majority of studies of corporate philanthropy in Russia are still covering the necessity of corporate philanthropy for resolving societal problems and describing particular “best practice” cases rather than analyzing the relation of corporate philanthropy to the whole system of CSP and its strategic applications. This study aims to address this gap by focusing on corporate philanthropy leaders as a first step to broad nationwide research.
Corporate Governance – Emerald Publishing
Published: Aug 3, 2012
Keywords: Corporate philanthropy; Corporate strategy; Corporate social performance; Corporate social responsibility; Social development; Russia
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