Spirituality and Corporate Philanthropy in Indian Family Firms: An Exploratory Study

Bhatnagar, N and Sharma, P and Ramachandran, K (2020) Spirituality and Corporate Philanthropy in Indian Family Firms: An Exploratory Study. Journal of Business Ethics, 163 (4). pp. 715-728. ISSN 0167-4544

Full text not available from this repository. (Request a copy)


Family firm philanthropy (FFP) is the donation of resources to support societal betterment in ways meaningful for the controlling family. Family business literature suggests that socioemotional goals of achieving family prominence, harmony, and continuity drive FFP. However, these drivers fail to explain spiritually motivated philanthropic behaviors like anonymous giving by business families. 14 case studies of Indian Hindu business families with a combined FFP exceeding 2 billion INR in 2016–17 reveal spirituality or the moral dimension as an additional important driver of corporate behaviors like FFP. Two fundamental spiritual beliefs of dharma (duty towards society) and karma (right to action without expectation of rewards) instill a duty-bound giving culture in Hindus. However, the strength of each belief varies in controlling families revealing four configurations of philanthropists labeled as Devout, Committed, Devoid, and Coerced in this study. Devouts, the biggest givers, are spiritually motivated, controlled by at least third-generation family members with executive power and professional support. Committed philanthropists are motivated by societal development rather than spirituality. While devoids hold spiritual beliefs, they neglect to devote appropriate resources or develop professional structures to support FFP. Coerced, the smallest givers, focus on business growth, lack family champions or supporting professional structures, and face turbulent family or business domains.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Family Business and Wealth Management
Date Deposited: 06 Aug 2023 20:49
Last Modified: 06 Aug 2023 20:49
URI: https://eprints.exchange.isb.edu/id/eprint/1868

Actions (login required)

View Item
View Item