Identity, storytelling and the philanthropic journey

Maclean, M., Harvey, C., Gordon, J. and Shaw, E. (2015) Identity, storytelling and the philanthropic journey. Human Relations, 68(10), pp. 1623-1652. (doi: 10.1177/0018726714564199) (PMID:26456976) (PMCID:PMC4582835)

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This article develops theoretical understanding of the involvement of wealthy entrepreneurs in socially transformative projects by offering a foundational theory of philanthropic identity narratives. We show that these narratives are structured according to the metaphorical framework of the journey, through which actors envision and make sense of personal transformation. The journey provides a valuable metaphor for conceptualizing narrative identities in entrepreneurial careers as individuals navigate different social landscapes, illuminating identities as unfolding through a process of wayfinding in response to events, transitions and turning-points. We delineate the journey from entrepreneurship to philanthropy, and propose a typology of rewards that entrepreneurs claim to derive from giving. We add to the expanding literature on narrative identities by suggesting that philanthropic identity narratives empower wealthy entrepreneurs to generate a legacy of the self that is both self- and socially oriented, these ‘generativity scripts’ propelling their capacity for action while ensuring the continuation of their journeys.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Gordon, Professor Jillian
Authors: Maclean, M., Harvey, C., Gordon, J., and Shaw, E.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Management
Journal Name:Human Relations
ISSN (Online):1741-282X
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2015 The Authors
First Published:First published in Human Relations 2015
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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