Exploring contemporary entrepreneurial philanthropy

Eleanor Shaw, Jillian Gordon, Charles Harvey, Mairi MacLean

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


Research outside the field of entrepreneurship has long observed the involvement of super-wealthy entrepreneurs in large-scale philanthropic endeavours, while the world’s media has endowed them with celebrity-like status. However, entrepreneurial philanthropy is largely absent from the entrepreneurship research literature. In this paper, we address this gap both theoretically and empirically. We propose capital theory as an appropriate theoretical lens through which to view contemporary entrepreneurial philanthropy, and present fresh evidence relating to successful, wealthy entrepreneurs involved in significant philanthropic ventures. Our findings highlight the active deployment of a distinctive blend of different forms of capital as a defining feature of entrepreneurial philanthropy, and contribute to emerging discourses regarding the nature of entrepreneurs, entrepreneurship as a socio-economic process, and to the sparse empirical analyses on entrepreneurial elites.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)580-599
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Small Business Journal
Issue number5
Early online date1 Dec 2011
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2013


  • entrepreneurial philanthropy
  • social capital
  • symbolic capital
  • cultural capital
  • capital theory


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  • Identity, storytelling and the philanthropic journey

    Maclean, M., Harvey, C., Gordon, J. & Shaw, E., 1 Oct 2015, In: Human Relations. 68, 10, p. 1623-1652 30 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Open Access
    49 Citations (Scopus)
    89 Downloads (Pure)

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