The ethics of entrepreneurial philanthropy

Harvey, C., Gordon, J. and Maclean, M. (2021) The ethics of entrepreneurial philanthropy. Journal of Business Ethics, 171(1), pp. 33-49. (doi: 10.1007/s10551-020-04468-7)

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A salient if under researched feature of the new age of global inequalities is the rise to prominence of entrepreneurial philanthropy, the pursuit of transformational social goals through philanthropic investment in projects animated by entrepreneurial principles. Super-wealthy entrepreneurs in this way extend their suzerainty from the domain of the economic to the domains of the social and political. We explore the ethics and ethical implications of entrepreneurialphilanthropy through systematic comparison with what we call customaryphilanthropy, which preferences support for established institutions and social practices. We analyse the ethical statements made at interview by 24 elite UK philanthropists, 12 customary and 12 entrepreneurial, to reveal the co-existence of two ethically charged narratives of elite philanthropic motivations, each instrumental in maintaining the established socio-economic order. We conclude that entrepreneurial philanthropy, as an ostensibly efficacious instrument of social justice, is ethically flawed by its unremitting impulse toward ideological purity.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:The authors would like to thank the UK Economic and Social Research Council for funding their research on entrepreneurial philanthropy under the banner of the Centre for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy (Award No. RES-593-25-0008 ES/F034075/1).
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Gordon, Professor Jillian
Authors: Harvey, C., Gordon, J., and Maclean, M.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Management
Journal Name:Journal of Business Ethics
ISSN (Online):1573-0697
Published Online:02 March 2020
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 The Authors
First Published:First published in Journal of Business Ethics 171(1): 33-49
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons license

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