Data Philanthropy: An Explorative Study

AbstractData philanthropy, which is firm donations of data, data scientists, and data technologies for social good, is a powerful new phenomenon that offers benefits to both donor firms and society. In this explorative research, we unpack data philanthropy, providing definitions, and examples along with a theoretical perspective from corporate philanthropy and strategic management. We view data through a lens from the resource-based view of the firm. Based on the premise that data is an asset of the firm, we discuss how data philanthropy conforms and differs from traditional corporate philanthropy. Given data’s requirements for substantial complementary assets and appropriate context, we propose that data can be shared for social good without harming the firm and may result in unforeseen benefits for the firm. In analyzing three examples, we offer several propositions regarding this new phenomenon.

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