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The management and organization of philanthropy: New directions and contested undercurrents

Harrow, J., Donnelly‐Cox, G., Healy, J. & Wijkström, F. (2021). The management and organization of philanthropy: New directions and contested undercurrents. International Journal of Management Reviews, 23(3), pp. 303-311. doi: 10.1111/ijmr.12273


The case for theoretical scrutiny of philanthropy's achievements and problems, in the institutional settings in which it operates, has never been stronger. In this introduction to IJMR’s special issue on philanthropy, we examine the developing levels and directions of institutional philanthropy scholarship, together with the consensual and contradictory themes they exemplify and the theoretical leads to which they give rise. Modern philanthropic theory is still largely based on archetypes developed in the early 20th century that accord a central role to foundations in addressing social challenges, yet the complex health, education and social service fields within which philanthropy operates have changed dramatically. We argue for the elevation of, and deepening directions for, theoretical study of institutional philanthropy. At present, institutional philanthropy has a modest theoretical literature, at the same time as we can notice an extensive and growing grey literature in the philanthropic community, often grounded in traditional strategic management. We reflect on the grey literature's potential development into theoretical scholarship, drawing on and fusing with a broader range of academic disciplines and organizational theories, and the linked study of the field as a discourse community. Here, the challenges of visibility and transparency in relation to privacy are significant, whether for accountability or research access.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2021 The Authors. International Journal of Management Reviews published by British Academy of Management and John Wiley & Sons Ltd This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Departments: Bayes Business School > Management
Text - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.

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