Centre for Research on Entrepreneurship, Wealth and Philanthropy

Featured Publications

Featured Publications

Publications

Bourdieu, strategy and the field of power

Bourdieu, strategy and the field of power

Charles Harvey, Ruomei Yang, Frank Mueller, Mairi Maclean

Abstract: Drawing on Bourdieu’s concept of the field of power, we examine the cross-national translation of organizational models and the strategic processes induced in recipient institutional contexts. By means of an in-depth historical case study, we demonstrate how elite strategists mobilized networks and symbolic capital to disrupt field relations and embed the US community foundation model of philanthropy in North East England. Our findings suggest that instead of simply copying alien field-level practices, strategic actors within the philanthropic field adapted and modified them to deliver fit-for-context change legitimated by support from the regional power elite. Our main contribution is to show how strategic elites drawn from different life-worlds build coalitions within the field of power to modify institutional infrastructures and embed innovative organizational models, simultaneously bolstering their legitimacy and symbolic capital. We hold that the field of power construct offers uniquely valuable insights into how strategic elites accomplish institutional change.

Accepted/In press

The Ethics of Entrepreneurial Philanthropy

The Ethics of Entrepreneurial Philanthropy

Charles Harvey, Jillian Gordon and Mairi Maclean

Abstract: A salient if under researched feature of the new age of global inequalities is the rise to prominence of entrepreneurial philanthropy, the pursuit of transformational social goals through philanthropic investment in projects animated by entrepreneurial principles. Super-wealthy entrepreneurs in this way extend their suzerainty from the domain of the economic to the domains of the social and political. We explore the ethics and ethical implications of entrepreneurialphilanthropy through systematic comparison with what we call customaryphilanthropy, which preferences support for established institutions and social practices. We analyse the ethical statements made at interview by 24 elite UK philanthropists, 12 customary and 12 entrepreneurial, to reveal the co-existence of two ethically charged narratives of elite philanthropic motivations, each instrumental in maintaining the established socio-economic order. We conclude that entrepreneurial philanthropy, as an ostensibly efficacious instrument of social justice, is ethically flawed by its unremitting impulse toward ideological purity.

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Historical Perspectives on Entrepreneurship and Philanthropy

Historical Perspectives on Entrepreneurship and Philanthropy

Business History Review (Volume 93, Issue 3) Special Issue on Entrepreneurship and Philanthropy

Charles Harvey, Mairi Maclean and Roy Suddaby

Abstract: We define philanthropy as voluntary giving by households or corporate bodies to promote charitable causes, projects, and organizations or, alternatively, as “voluntary action for the public good.” Entrepreneurial philanthropy refers specifically to “the pursuit by entrepreneurs on a not-for-profit basis of big social objectives through active investment of their economic, cultural, social and symbolic resources.” Government projects financed by taxation and interfamily resource transfers are never philanthropic. Gifts only qualify as philanthropic when the donor is under no compulsion to give, when the gift benefits people with whom the donor is not directly connected, when the gift is made from the donor's own resources, and when the donor receives no direct economic benefit as a consequence of making the gift. In other words, philanthropists invest their own resources in causes they believe will benefit others and that yield no direct benefit to themselves or their families.

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Executive remuneration and the limits of disclosure as an instrument of corporate governance

Executive remuneration and the limits of disclosure as an instrument of corporate governance

Charles Harvey, Mairi Maclean, Michael Price

Abstract: Why does disclosure continue to be seen as a panacea for failings in corporate governance, despite mounting evidence that it is a weak instrument of control? Through a micro-historical study of the constitution and deliberations of the Greenbury committee, which placed executive remuneration disclosure at the heart of UK corporate governance, we demonstrate how disclosure was discursively constructed by elite business leaders as a primary requirement of accountability of agents to owners. Our research, conducted twenty years after the publication of the Greenbury recommendations in 1995, is based on oral history interviews with surviving members of the committee and its professional advisers, who came to lament that their efforts perversely had helped escalate rather than moderate top executive pay. We argue that disclosure is a poor surrogate for real engagement by owners in corporate governance, and propose four general conditions that, if satisfied, might lead to increased accountability.

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From Cadbury to Kay: discourse, intertextuality and the evolution of UK corporate governance

From Cadbury to Kay: discourse, intertextuality and the evolution of UK corporate governance

Michael Price, Charles Harvey, Mairi Maclean, David Campbell

Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to answer two main research questions. First, the authors ask the degree to which the UK corporate governance code has changed in response to both systemic perturbations and the subsequent enquiries established to recommend solutions to perceived shortcomings. Second, the authors ask how the solutions proposed in these landmark governance texts might be explained. The authors take a critical discourse approach to develop and apply a discourse model of corporate governance reform. The authors draw together data on popular, corporate-political and technocratic discourses on corporate governance in the UK and analyse these data using content analysis and the historical discourse approach. The UK corporate governance code has changed little despite periodic crises and the enquiries set up to investigate and make recommendation. Institutional stasis, the authors find, is the product of discourse capture and control by elite corporate actors aided by political allies who inhabit the same elite habitus. Review group members draw intertextually on prior technocratic discourse to create new canonical texts that bear the hallmarks of their predecessors. Light touch regulation by corporate insiders thus remains the UK approach. This is one of the first applications of critical discourse analysis in the accounting literature and the first to have conducted a discursive analysis of corporate governance reports in the UK. The authors present an original model of discourse transitions to explain how systemic challenges are dissipated.

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Identity, storytelling and the philanthropic journey

Identity, storytelling and the philanthropic journey

Mairi Maclean, Charles Harvey, Jillian Gordon, Eleanor Shaw

Abstract: This article develops theoretical understanding of the involvement of wealthy entrepreneurs in socially transformative projects by offering a foundational theory of philanthropic identity narratives. We show that these narratives are structured according to the metaphorical framework of the journey, through which actors envision and make sense of personal transformation. The journey provides a valuable metaphor for conceptualizing narrative identities in entrepreneurial careers as individuals navigate different social landscapes, illuminating identities as unfolding through a process of wayfinding in response to events, transitions and turning-points. We delineate the journey from entrepreneurship to philanthropy, and propose a typology of rewards that entrepreneurs claim to derive from giving. We add to the expanding literature on narrative identities by suggesting that philanthropic identity narratives empower wealthy entrepreneurs to generate a legacy of the self that is both self- and socially oriented, these ‘generativity scripts’ propelling their capacity for action while ensuring the continuation of their journeys.

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Andrew Carnegie and the foundations of contemporary entrepreneurial philanthropy

Andrew Carnegie and the foundations of contemporary entrepreneurial philanthropy

Charles Harvey, Mairi Maclean, Jillian Gordon, Eleanor Shaw

Abstract: This paper focuses upon the relationship between the business and philanthropic endeavours of world-making entrepreneurs; asking why, how and to what ends these individuals seek to extend their reach in society beyond business. It presents an original model of entrepreneurial philanthropy which demonstrates how investment in philanthropic projects can yield positive returns in cultural, social and symbolic capital, which in turn may lead to growth in economic capital. The model is applied to interpret and make sense of the career of Andrew Carnegie, whose story, far from reducing to one of making a fortune then giving it away, is revealed as more complex and more unified. His philanthropy raised his stock within the field of power, helping convert surplus funds into social networks, high social standing and intellectual currency, enabling him to engage in world making on a grand scale.

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Welcome to ‘Pikettyville’? Mapping London’s alpha territories

Welcome to ‘Pikettyville’? Mapping London’s alpha territories

Roger Burrows, Richard Webber, Rowland Atkinson

Abstract: This paper considers the influence of the burgeoning global ‘super-rich’ on contemporary socio-spatialization processes in London in the light of a contemporary re-reading of Pahl’s classic volume, Whose City? It explores if a turn to ‘big data’ – in the form of commercial geodemographic classifications – can offer any additional insights to a sociological approach to the study of the ‘super-rich’ that extends the ‘spatialization of class’ thesis further ‘up’ the class structure.

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‘Give It Back, George’: Network Dynamics in the Philanthropic Field

‘Give It Back, George’: Network Dynamics in the Philanthropic Field

Mairi Maclean, Charles Harvey

Abstract: This paper assumes a network dynamics perspective to explore the charitable sector campaign known as ‘Give it Back, George’, which overturned a threatening tax change announced in the UK Budget 2012. We consider network activity from diverse viewpoints. Collaboration by disparate players enhanced the campaign’s legitimacy, high-status actors with a tertius iungens strategic orientation eschewing the limelight while others took centre stage. While extant research has shown how lower-status actors may profit from the networks of prominent individuals, we demonstrate that the reverse may apply. We suggest that elite actors who activate ties and bring together disconnected others are often less visible than apparent dominant actors. Social movements are not always reformist but may be deployed by elite incumbents to preserve the status quo. The story we narrate here is therefore less concerned with field transformation than with field preservation at the elite level when faced with threatening change.

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Social innovation, social entrepreneurship and the practice of contemporary entrepreneurial philanthropy

Social innovation, social entrepreneurship and the practice of contemporary entrepreneurial philanthropy

Mairi Maclean, Charles Harvey, Jillian Gordon

Abstract: The economic crisis has accentuated the social and economic dislocation experienced by disadvantaged communities at a time of unprecedented political and public interest in philanthropy. This has concentrated attention on the contribution that philanthropists might make in addressing socio-economic challenges, and on the role that social innovation might play in regenerating communities. This article adds to the literature on social innovation and social entrepreneurship that aims to integrate theory and empirical practice. By examining social innovation through the lens of a case study of the Community Foundation for Tyne & Wear and Northumberland, the article sheds light on how the sites and spaces of socially innovative philanthropic projects may have a bearing on their success; attention is drawn to the importance of community engagement on the part of social innovators, and the power of self-organization in re-embedding communities. It suggests that storytelling by committed philanthropists may serve as a powerful proselytizing tool for recruiting new donors.

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A reconceptualization of fear of failure in entrepreneurship

A reconceptualization of fear of failure in entrepreneurship

Gabriella Cacciotti, James C. Hayton, Robert Mitchell, Andres Giazitzoglu

Abstract: Fear of failure both inhibits and motivates entrepreneurial behavior and therefore represents a rich opportunity for better understanding entrepreneurial motivation. Although considerable attention has been given to the study of fear of failure in entrepreneurship, scholars in this field have investigated this construct from distinct disciplinary perspectives. These perspectives use definitions and measures of fear of failure that are potentially in conflict and are characterized by a static approach, thereby limiting the validity of existing findings about the relationship between fear of failure and entrepreneurship. The purpose of this paper is to delineate more precisely the nature of fear of failure within the entrepreneurial setting. Using an exploratory and inductive qualitative research design, we frame this construct in terms of socially situated cognition by adopting an approach that captures a combination of cognition, affect and action as it relates to the challenging, uncertain, and risk-laden experience of entrepreneurship. In so doing, we provide a unified perspective of fear of failure in entrepreneurship in order to facilitate progress in understanding its impact on entrepreneurial action and outcomes.

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Conceptualizing Historical Organization Studies

Conceptualizing Historical Organization Studies

Mairi Maclean, Charles Harvey, Stewart R. Clegg

Abstract: The promise of a closer union between organizational and historical research has long been recognized. However, its potential remains unfulfilled: the authenticity of theory development expected by organization studies and the authenticity of historical veracity required by historical research place exceptional conceptual and empirical demands on researchers. We elaborate the idea of historical organization studies—organizational research that draws extensively on historical data, methods, and knowledge to promote historically informed theoretical narratives attentive to both disciplines. Building on prior research, we propose a typology of four differing conceptions of history in organizational research: history as evaluating, explicating, conceptualizing, and narrating. We identify five principles of historical organization studies—dual integrity, pluralistic understanding, representational truth, context sensitivity, and theoretical fluency—and illustrate our typology holistically from the perspective of institutional entrepreneurship. We explore practical avenues for a creative synthesis, drawing examples from social movement research and microhistory. Historically informed theoretical narratives whose validity derives from both historical veracity and conceptual rigor afford dual integrity that enhances scholarly legitimacy, enriching understanding of historical, contemporary, and future-directed social realities.

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Orphans of Empire: The Fate of London's Foundlings

Orphans of Empire: The Fate of London's Foundlings

Helen Berry

Book Overview: The fascinating story of the children who survived life in London's Foundling Hospital. A unique 'bottom up' view of Britain during a moment of monumental transformation and pursuit of empire, including: the Battle of Trafalgar; the growth of London; and the rise of factory employment. Includes first hand accounts by former foundling children, to reveal the suffering and small triumphs they experienced during a period of great social upheaval. A new perspective on the history of charities in supplying child workers during the Industrial Revolution, including the changing ideas of the era on how to best tackle poverty.

Berry, H. (2019) Orphans of Empire: The Fate of London's Foundlings, Oxford: Oxford University Press

 

Orphans of Empire

REWP Working Paper Series

Philanthropy Enterprise and Society in North East England

Charles Harvey, Mairi Maclean, Michael Price, Vesela Harizanova

Understanding Philanthropy

Understanding Philanthropy

Abstract: Philanthropy is the voluntary gift of resources from private wealth to promote charitable causes, projects or organizations. Based on original research and a review of the existing literature, the purpose of this paper is to provide a comprehensive overview of the philanthropic landscape in Britain and to explain how philanthropy serves as a force for good in society. It begins by introducing the types of actors operating in the philanthropic field; the often confusing array of donors, foundations and beneficiaries of different types and hues. It outlines the choices confronting philanthropists and the different organisations and tools that exist to facilitate, maximize and effectively utilize philanthropic giving. In the paper, you can also read about the motivations behind philanthropy and the wide range of causes philanthropists support. Philanthropy plays an important role in social innovation through the founding of new organisations and institutions. Large numbers of schools, libraries, hospitals, universities, churches, parks and gardens and community organizations have their roots in philanthropy. Tens of thousands of front-line charities, tackling deep-seated problems at home and abroad and improving the lives of millions of people, are sustained largely by the generosity of private individuals. Overall, the concise discussion of a complex topic makes this paper a valuable introductory guide for prospective philanthropists, third sector professionals, board members of charitable trusts and foundations, interested academics and anyone else interested in understanding how philanthropy works.

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Philanthropy - The North East Story

Philanthropy - The North East Story

Abstract: This paper surveys the history of philanthropy in the North East of England over a period of more than 900 years, from the time the North East was brought under Norman control (thirty years or so after the Conquest of 1066) down to the present. We paint a broad picture of the role philanthropy has played in the region across the ages, and demonstrate how past endeavours continue to enrich present lives. On the basis of the evidence presented we draw 10 main conclusions: (1) The North East has a long and rich history of philanthropy; (2) There are distinctive aspects to philanthropy in the North East stemming from the concentration of power in the hands of the Bishops of Durham and the merchant community of Newcastle; (3) Enterprise is the motor force of philanthropy; (4) Philanthropy is a major source of social innovation; (5) Social activism is essential to the success of philanthropic ventures; (6) Philanthropy is not just about mega-donors. (7) Prestigious institutions are magnets for philanthropy; (8) Institutions founded on philanthropy must adapt to survive; (9) Philanthropy is a two-way street: improving the lives of beneficiaries while a source of intense satisfaction for donors; (10) Philanthropy in the past lives on in the present. We conclude by answering four fundamental questions about the past, present and future of philanthropy, and present a summary table highlighting the main domains of philanthropy across the more than nine centuries.

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Philanthropy, economy and society in North East England: The Middle Ages, 1100 – 1500

Philanthropy, economy and society in North East England: The Middle Ages, 1100 – 1500

Abstract: This paper surveys the history of philanthropy in the North East of England from the time the North East was brought under Norman control (thirty years or so after the Conquest of 1066) to the end of the fifteenth century. Our purpose is to understand philanthropy in the context of the economics, politics, beliefs, values and social practices of the time. With government effectively de-centralized and wealth very unevenly divided, the conditions existed for major philanthropic initiatives, especially in the two and a half centuries before the Black Death. There were seven main loci of activity, three religious, two religious-secular, and two secular. Philanthropy helped both in fulfilling religious obligations and in increasing the social standing of donors. Building, repairing, extending, adorning, and endowing churches and chapels counted among the most favoured of philanthropic causes. Care for the poor, sick and elderly was another religious injunction placed upon the wealthy by the medieval church. Furthermore, across the region, landed, clerical and entrepreneurial philanthropists played a leading part in creating the infrastructure that made economic and social progress possible.

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Philanthropy, economy and society in North East England: The Early Modern Era, 1501 - 1750

Philanthropy, economy and society in North East England: The Early Modern Era, 1501 - 1750

Abstract: This paper surveys the history of philanthropy in the North East of England during The Early Modern Era (1501 – 1750) - an era in which the modern British state, conceived as an organized form of collective social power, began to take shape. Our purpose is to understand philanthropy in the context of the economics, politics, beliefs, values and social practices of the time. Our findings show that education and support for the poor and vulnerable were the two most important objects of philanthropy in the North East during the early modern period, as in the rest of England. In both cases, philanthropists came from aristocratic, clerical, landed gentry and entrepreneurial backgrounds, although it is fair to say that while all types of wealth supported philanthropic causes, the entrepreneurial class, relative to means, was disproportionately active.

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