Giving from the heart: exploring how ethics of care emerges in corporate social responsibility

Melanie Formentin, Denise Bortree

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to examine philanthropic partnerships between donor organizations and nonprofits and how ethics of care may play an important role in the quality of relationship between the partners. Design/methodology/approach: In total, 29 in-depth interviews were conducted with communications professionals at nonprofit organizations to understand how their partnerships with national sport organizations benefited their organizations and how characteristics of the sport organizations’ communication and behavior have consequence for their partners. Findings: The four dimensions of ethics of care (building trust, showing mutual concern, promoting human flourishing and responsiveness to needs) clearly emerged as the most beneficial ways sport organizations engage with their nonprofit partners. Research limitations/implications: This study introduces the concept of ethic of care into the CSR literature and suggests that ethics of care may play an important role in relationship management with key publics. Practical implications: Practically, this study offers insights for corporate partners about the way their communication and behavior influence nonprofits, and it suggests ways that corporations can improve their work with partners to create a more productive relationship. Originality/value: This is one of the first studies to use ethics of care to examine the relationship of CSR partnerships and the first to conduct a study with sport organizations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2-17
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Communication Management
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 13 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Strategy and Management


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