Research on corporate philanthropy typically focuses on organization-external pressures and aggregated donation behavior. Hence, our understanding of the organization-internal structures that determine whether a given organization will respond philanthropically to a specific human need remains underdeveloped. We explicate an attention-based framework in which specific dimensions of organization-level attention focus interact to predict philanthropic responses to an emergent human need. Exploring the response of Fortune Global 500 firms to the 2004 South Asian tsunami, we find that management attention focused on people inside the organization (employees) interacts with both attention for places (countries in the tsunami-stricken region) and attention for practices (corporate philanthropy in general) to predict the likelihood of charitable donations. Our research thus extends beyond the prevailing institutional perspective by highlighting the role of attention focus in corporate responsiveness to emergent societal issues.

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Journal of Business Ethics
Rotterdam School of Management (RSM), Erasmus University

Muller, A., & Whiteman, G. (2016). Corporate Philanthropic Responses to Emergent Human Needs: The Role of Organizational Attention Focus. Journal of Business Ethics, 137(2), 299–314. doi:10.1007/s10551-015-2556-x