In an age of rapid globalization, it’s easy to shift focus from a local to a more macro view. But a new working paper out of Harvard University and the University of Toronto sets out to underscore the importance or retaining that community spotlight – even when dealing with large, Fortune 1000 companies.
The researchers, András Tilcsik, University of Toronto and Christopher Marquis, Harvard University, tracked the corporate philanthropy activity of various companies leading up to, during, and after major community events to find out how punctuating events in communities affected corporate decision-making.
According to Tilcsik and Marquis, large, planned mega-events like the Olympics had the biggest positive impact on corporate giving – before, during and after. Small-scale natural disasters also led to an uptick in local corporate giving. But large-scale natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina had a negative effect on corporate giving.
The authors say that the project is important because it reminds us of the influence that local events can have on institutional relations. They write, “…this paper speaks not only to the organizational literature on communities and institutions but also to a broader literature on place—a physical, geographic location that is invested with meaning and value.”