Handbook on Ethics and Marketing
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Handbook on Ethics and Marketing

Edited by Alexander Nill

Exploring both the theoretical and the applied aspects of the role ethics plays in marketing, this Handbook analyzes key issues in order to advance our understanding and provide an overview of the state of the art in this vital field.
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Chapter 16: Corporate philanthropy and ethicality: two opposing notions?

Bodo B. Schlegelmilch and Ilona Szőcs


Corporations today are increasingly expected to act as ‘good corporate citizens.’ The growing number of corporate scandals in the past years fostered public mistrust in companies and made corporate social performance an important assessment criterion of companies’ behavior (Blowfield and Murray 2008). These forces have also elevated the expectations of the public of what a responsible business should be. As a result, corporate decision makers more and more realize that their business goals should not be restricted solely to maximizing profit, but should include responsible actions toward society. Responsible business practice is not a new phenomenon. It has been discussed since the very beginnings of business activity. For example, the Code of Hammurabi already 4000 years ago required farmers, builders and innkeepers to avoid acting negligently by causing death to others (or they themselves would be put to death). Moreover the deontological principles of the world’s religions (such as Judaism, Christianity and Islam), which have existed for thousands of years, require responsible business practices. However what is new – and constantly changing – is how corporate responsibility should manifest itself. This provides an ever-increasing challenge for companies.

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