A Theory of Collective Empathy in Corporate Philanthropy Decisions

Academy of Management Review, Forthcoming

50 Pages Posted: 7 Mar 2013

See all articles by Alan Muller

Alan Muller

University of Amsterdam Business School; University of Washington - Michael G. Foster School of Business

Michael D. Pfarrer

University of Georgia - Department of Management

Laura M. Little

University of Georgia - C. Herman and Mary Virginia Terry College of Business

Date Written: March 6, 2013

Abstract

Prevailing perspectives of corporate philanthropy are predominantly rational and limit decision making to the executive suite. Recently, however, recognition has grown that employees are also important drivers of corporate philanthropy efforts and that their motives may be more empathic in nature. Integrating arguments from affective events theory, intergroup emotions theory, and affect infusion theory, we develop a framework in which organization members’ collective empathy in response to the needs of unknown others infuses executives’ decisions, thereby affecting the likelihood, scale, and form of corporate philanthropy. Our theory has implications for research on emotions in organizations as well as for our understanding of the role of organizations in society.

Keywords: corporate philanthropy, decision making, emotion, empathy, infusion, AET, AIM, IET

Suggested Citation

Muller, Alan R. and Pfarrer, Michael D. and Little, Laura M., A Theory of Collective Empathy in Corporate Philanthropy Decisions (March 6, 2013). Academy of Management Review, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2229122

Alan R. Muller (Contact Author)

University of Amsterdam Business School ( email )

Plantage Muidergracht 12
Amsterdam, 1018TV
Netherlands

HOME PAGE: http://www1.fee.uva.nl/pp/amuller

University of Washington - Michael G. Foster School of Business ( email )

Box 353200
Seattle, WA 98195-3200
United States

Michael D. Pfarrer

University of Georgia - Department of Management ( email )

United States

Laura M. Little

University of Georgia - C. Herman and Mary Virginia Terry College of Business ( email )

Brooks Hall
310 Herty Drive
Athens, GA 30602-6269
United States

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