Anglia Ruskin Research Online (ARRO)
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The geography of corporate philanthropy: A comparison of places across the north and south of England

posted on 2023-08-30, 19:41 authored by Kamal Rai
Purpose: Geographical insights are widely neglected in the extensive and rapidly growing research on corporate philanthropy. Using a comparative, mixed methods study of firms located across the North and South of England, this research examines the impact of geography on firms undertaking philanthropic activities. Methods: Using the NOMIS database, four key factors were identified to construct an initial theoretical framework for understanding how geographical place influences firms practicing philanthropy. They are, having a history of industrial decline; higher income levels; higher education rates; and a majority of left political support. A research hypothesis was constructed for each factor. Thereafter, the research adopted a sequential (exploratory) mixed methods approach. In the qualitative phase, ten semi-structured interviews were conducted with managers responsible for their firm’s philanthropic activities to develop and refine the hypotheses. In the quantitative phase, a larger sample of online surveys (n=20) followed to test the hypotheses and other themes using regression analysis. Using a comparative case study design, coherent selections of cities or towns were explored in four regions across England; North-east (NE); South-west (SW); North-west (NW); and South-east (SE). Findings: Decisions about philanthropic activities differ across regions, according to specific characteristics of the places where firms are located. In the NE, philanthropic support is aimed at local and regional recipients as ways of showing support for the unemployment caused by industrial decline. In the NW, local causes are predominantly supported, to demonstrate firms’ strong community presence. In the SW, recipients are regional and international, linked to the higher income levels and left political leaning of this region. Results in the SE reveals a variety of recipients, as a consequence of higher education attainment, left political leaning and unemployment that affects this region. Conclusions: The thesis makes empirical contributions to existing knowledge and provides new insight into understanding how the specific characteristics of the place where the donor firm is located impacts the way they perform philanthropy. Employing mixed methods permitted a deep understanding of the research topic. I posit further calls for mixed methods fieldwork in social science research.



Anglia Ruskin University

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