Sincerity in corporate philanthropy, stakeholder perceptions and firm value

Ilya R. P. Cuypers*, Ping-Sheng Koh, Heli Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    82 Citations (Scopus)


    This study extends the literature on symbolic management by incorporating the role of stakeholder perceptions into the context of corporate philanthropy. In particular, we differentiate between the quantitative (generous giving) and qualitative (innovative giving) aspects of giving. We argue that although stakeholders may perceive both types of giving as being substantive rather than symbolic, innovative giving is likely to be perceived as more substantive than generous giving is and, thus, has a greater impact on firm value. Furthermore, stakeholder perceptions of corporate philanthropy as being more symbolic or substantive are influenced by firm characteristics-the type of products or services that a firm provides and the life-cycle stage that the firm is in-which provide stakeholders with a context to better assess the nature of a firm's philanthropic actions and the substantiveness of its giving. We find support for our predictions using a sample covering U.S. firms' philanthropic activities over a 19-year period.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)173-188
    Number of pages16
    JournalOrganization Science
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


    • philanthropy
    • symbolic management
    • stakeholders perceptions
    • financial performance


    Dive into the research topics of 'Sincerity in corporate philanthropy, stakeholder perceptions and firm value'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this