Euphemisms and hypocrisy in corporate philanthropy
Article first published online: 20 JUN 2011
© 2011 The Authors. Business Ethics: A European Review © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Business Ethics: A European Review
Special Issue: Where is business ethics?
Volume 20, Issue 3, pages 267–279, July 2011
How to Cite
la Cour, A. and Kromann, J. (2011), Euphemisms and hypocrisy in corporate philanthropy. Business Ethics: A European Review, 20: 267–279. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8608.2011.01627.x
- Issue published online: 20 JUN 2011
- Article first published online: 20 JUN 2011
Over the past two decades, a growing number of large multinational corporations have come to view philanthropy as an important part of their business operations. This has stimulated research on the many different strategies that are pursued by these corporations in their attempts to become more philanthropic while remaining economically responsible. In this situation, some researchers have argued, corporations run the risk of being caught out as hypocrites. Through an analysis of the corporate social responsibility reports of the biggest multinational corporations, this article shows how the risk of hypocrisy is managed communicatively through the use of euphemisms. The article argues that the use of euphemisms makes it possible to communicate both economically and philanthropically without manifest contradictions. Euphemisms, however, are also risky in their own right.