Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

A Spirit of Generosity: Philanthropy in the Scotch Whisky Industry

  • Niall G. MacKenzie, Jillian Gordon and Martin J. Gannon

Abstract

Recent literature on philanthropy and business has focused on the returns to businesses and entrepreneurs from giving. In this article, we show how historical context impacts the motivations and organizational forms created over time in philanthropic giving that effect and affect such returns. We do this through the prism of the changing ownership structures in the Scotch whisky industry in the twentieth century using an institutional theory lens. In doing so, we capture the story of three sisters who inherited a Scotch whisky business in the 1940s and transformed it into a hybrid philanthropic-commercial vehicle that remains in operation today. We present an extended theoretical model illustrating the interplay of context, motivation, and organizational structure over time on exchanges of capital in entrepreneurial philanthropy.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      A Spirit of Generosity: Philanthropy in the Scotch Whisky Industry
      Available formats
      ×

      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      A Spirit of Generosity: Philanthropy in the Scotch Whisky Industry
      Available formats
      ×

      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      A Spirit of Generosity: Philanthropy in the Scotch Whisky Industry
      Available formats
      ×

Copyright

References

Hide All

1 Czarniawska, Barbara and Sevón, Guje, “Introduction,” in Translating Organizational Change, ed. Czarniawska, Barbara and Sevón, Guje (Berlin, 1996), 3; Harvey, Charles, Maclean, Mairi, Gordon, Jillian, and Shaw, Eleanor, “Andrew Carnegie and the Foundations of Contemporary Entrepreneurial Philanthropy,” Business History 53, no. 3 (2011): 425–50.

2 Jones, Geoffrey, van Leeuwen, Marco H. D., and Broadberry, Stephen, “The Future of Economic, Business, and Social History,” Scandinavian Economic History Review 60, no. 3 (2012): 239.

3 Zunz, Olivier, Philanthropy in America: A History (Princeton, 2012); van Leeuwen, Marco H. D. and Wiepking, Pamala, “National Campaigns for Charitable Causes: A Literature Review,” Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly 42, no. 2 (2013): 219–40; Harvey, Maclean, Gordon, and Shaw, “Andrew Carnegie”; Wang, Heli and Qian, Cuili, “Corporate Philanthropy and Corporate Financial Performance: The Roles of Stakeholder Response and Political Access,” Academy of Management Journal 54, no. 6 (2011): 1159–81.

4 Shaw, Eleanor, Gordon, Jillian, Harvey, Charles, and Maclean, Mairi, “Exploring Contemporary Entrepreneurial Philanthropy,” International Small Business Journal 31, no. 5 (2011): 580–99; Harvey, Maclean, Gordon, and Shaw, “Andrew Carnegie.”

5 Fleishman, Joel, The Foundation: A Great American Secret – How Private Wealth Is Changing the World (Cambridge, MA, 2007); Bishop, Matthew and Green, Michael, Philanthrocapitalism: How Giving Can Save the World (New York, 2008).

6 Bremner, Robert H., American Philanthropy (Chicago, 1988), 2; Zunz, Olivier, “Why Is the History of Philanthropy Not a Part of American History?” in Philanthropy in Democratic Societies: History, Institutions, Values, ed. Reich, Rob, Cordelli, Chiara, and Bernholz, Lucy (Chicago, 2016), 45.

7 Maclean, Mairi, Harvey, Charles, Gordon, Jillian, and Shaw, Eleanor, “Identity, Storytelling and the Philanthropic Journey,” Human Relations 68, no. 10 (2015): 1623–52; Audretsch, David B. and Hinger, Joshua R., “From Entrepreneur to Philanthropist: Two Sides of the Same Coin,” in Handbook of Research on Entrepreneurs’ Engagement with Philanthropy: Perspectives, ed. Taylor, Marilyn L., Strom, Robert J., and Renz, David O. (Cheltenham, 2014), 2442.

8 Schervish, Paul G., “Major Donors, Major Motives: The People and Purposes behind Major Gifts,” New Directions for Philanthropic Fundraising, no. 47 (2005): 5987.

9 Granger, Karen, Lu, Vinh Nhat, Conduit, Jodie, Veale, Roberta, and Habel, Cullen, “Keeping the Faith! Drivers of Participation in Spiritually-Based Communities,” Journal of Business Research 67, no. 2 (2014): 6875; Fong, Christina, “Evidence from an Experiment on Charity to Welfare Recipients: Reciprocity, Altruism and the Empathic Responsiveness Hypothesis,” Economic Journal 117, no. 522 (2007): 1008–24.

10 Collard, David A., Altruism and Economy: A Study in Non-Selfish Economics (Oxford, 1978); Harvey, Maclean, Gordon, and Shaw, “Andrew Carnegie.”

11 Schervish, “Major Donors, Major Motives.”

12 Bekkers, René and Wiepking, Pamala, “A Literature Review of Empirical Studies of Philanthropy: Eight Mechanisms That Drive Charitable Giving,” Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly 40, no. 5 (2011): 924–73.

13 Mills, Charles Wright, “Situated Action and Vocabularies of Motive,” American Sociological Review 5, no. 6 (1940): 904–13.

14 Maclean, Mairi, Harvey, Charles, and Clegg, Stewart R., “Organization Theory in Business and Management History: Present Status and Future Prospects,” Business History Review 91, no. 3 (2017): 457–58; Maclean, Mairi, Harvey, Charles, and Clegg, Stewart R., “Conceptualizing Historical Organization Studies,” Academy of Management Review 41, no. 4 (2016): 609–32.

15 Maclean, Harvey, and Clegg, “Organization Theory”; Maclean, Harvey, and Clegg, “Conceptualizing Historical Organization Studies”; Perchard, Andrew, MacKenzie, Niall G., Decker, Stephanie, and Favero, Giovanni, “Clio in the Business School: Historical Approaches in Strategy, International Business and Entrepreneurship,” Business History 59, no. 6 (2017): 904–27.

16 National Guardian, Notes and News, 10 Sept. 1897, Mitchell Library Archive, Glasgow.

17 Michael S. Moss, “A History of Robertson & Baxter Ltd. 106 West Nile Street, Glasgow” (unpublished note on holdings, 1991), UGD 358 1/1/3: 2/11, University of Glasgow Scottish Business Archive, (hereafter SBA); Company pamphlet on founding of Robertson & Baxter, n.d., UGD 231/29/1, SBA.

18 Moss, “History of Robertson & Baxter.”

19 Michael S. Moss, unpublished biographical note on Ethel Robertson and personal correspondence with a cousin of the sisters. Email correspondence with Michael Moss.

20 Moss, “History of Robertson & Baxter.”

21 James Robertson to Joseph Albert Castillon du Perron, James Hennessy & Co., 7 Dec. 1922, UGD 358 1/1/3, SBA.

22 Moss, “History of Robertson & Baxter”; “Front Runner in Whisky Stakes,” Scotsman, 2 Dec. 2001; Michael S. Moss, “Quality in a Time of Uncertainty: A Hundred Years of Highland Distilleries Co. 1887–1981” (unpublished note on holdings, 1991), UGD 358 1/1/11, SBA.

23 Greig, Geordie, Louis and the Prince (London, 1999).

24 Forteviot Trust, 2016 Annual Report; Lord Forteviot obituary, Aberdeen Press & Journal, 25 Nov. 1929.

25 Kochan, Nick and Pym, Hugh, The Guinness Affair (Bromley, 1987), 30; Cunningham, Karen, Business As Usual: The Miquel Way (Durham, 2012).

26 McKendrick, David G. and Hannan, Michael T., “Oppositional Identities and Resource Partitioning: Distillery Ownership in Scotch Whisky, 1826–2009,” Organization Science 25, no. 4 (2013): 1276.

27 Weir, Ronald B., The History of the Distillers Company, 1877–1939: Diversification and Growth in Whisky and Chemicals (Oxford, 1995), 253.

28 Moss, Michael S. and Hume, John R., The Making of Scotch Whisky: A History of the Scotch Whisky Distilling Industry (Balerno, 1981), 164.

29 Moss, “Quality in a Time of Uncertainty.”

30 Moss, “History of Robertson & Baxter.”

31 Laver, James, The House of Haig (London, 1958), 71.

32 MacLean, Charles, The Robertson Trust (Edinburgh, 2001), 7, privately published for Robertson Trust council members, Robertson Trust Archive, Glasgow (hereafter, RTA).

33 Laver, House of Haig, 71.

34 Craig, Charles, The Scotch Whisky Industry Record: An Industry History and Reference Book (Glasgow, 1994); Moss and Hume, Making of Scotch Whisky.

35 R. R. Powell, Board of Trade Scotland, to R. S. Cumming, Scotch Whisky Association, 9 May 1963, SEP4/496, National Records of Scotland.

36 Moss and Hume, Making of Scotch Whisky, 168.

37 Moss, “History of Robertson & Baxter.”

38 Moss, “Quality in a Time of Uncertainty.”

39 Powell, Walter E. and Colyvas, Jeannette A., “Microfoundations of Institutional Theory,” in The SAGE Handbook of Organizational Institutionalism, ed. Greenwood, Royston, Oliver, Christine, Sahlin, Kerstin, and Suddaby, Roy (London, 2008), 277.

40 “Scale of Estate Duty Rates, Applying to Deaths in Great Britain and Ireland,” Jan. 2006, HM Revenue and Customs, London.

41 MacLean, Robertson Trust.

42 “B. and P. Club”, Berwickshire Advertiser, 24 Jan. 1957.

43 “Fete raised £278 for cancer fund,” Berwickshire Advertiser, 13 June 1957.

44 Robertson Trust Annual Trustee Meeting minutes, 1969, RTA; “Former Edrington Chairman Has Had a Good Run at the Top,” Herald (Glasgow), 24 Aug. 2013.

45 MacLean, Robertson Trust, 12.

46 Robertson Trust founding trust deed, 1961, RTA.

47 Scottish Law Commission, Report on Trust Law, Scot Law Com no. 239 (Norwich, 2014).

48 Robertson Trust founding trust deed, 1961, RTA.

49 Articles of Association, Edrington Holdings Ltd. Certificate of Incorporation, clauses 1.3, 1.4, and 10(a), Companies House, U.K.

50 Robertson Trust founding trust deed, 1961, RTA.

51 Robertson Trust founding trust deed, 1961, RTA.

52 Robertson Trust Annual Trustee Meeting minutes, 1961–1964, RTA.

53 Robertson Trust, 2016 Annual Report, RTA; Robertson Trust Annual Trustee Meeting minutes, 8 Nov. 1967, RTA.

54 Robertson Trust Annual Trustee Meeting minutes, 8 Nov. 1967, RTA.

55 MacLean, Robertson Trust.

56 “Front Runner in Whisky Stakes,” Scotsman, 2 Dec. 2001.

57 Edrington, 2016 Annual Report.

58 Robertson Trust Annual Trustee Meeting minutes, 16 Nov. 1981, 1 Dec. 1971, and 14 Dec. 1984, all RTA.

59 Robertson Trust Annual Trustee Meeting minutes, 14 Dec. 1984, RTA.

60 Robertson Trust Annual Trustee Meeting minutes, 14 Dec. 1970, RTA.

61 Paterson, Lindsay, “Philanthropy and Education in Scotland,” Scottish Affairs 27, no. 2 (2018): 215–40.

62 Iseabal Glen, “The Scotch Whisky Industry (1939–1961): An Economic Study” (MLitt thesis, University of Glasgow, 1963), preface.

63 A very short obituary published on 2 Dec. 1989 in the Herald (Glasgow) spoke principally about the sisters’ desire for privacy in giving.

64 “Former Edrington Chairman,” Herald (Glasgow).

65 Moss, “History of Robertson & Baxter.”

66 Robertson Trust Annual Trustee Meeting minutes, 22 Jan. 1988, RTA.

67 Robertson Trust, 2016–2017 Annual Report, 43.

68 “The Spirit of Scottish Unity,” Financial Times, 18 Aug. 1999.

69 Authors’ calculations.

70 DiMaggio, Paul and Powell, Walter W., “The Iron Cage Revisited: Collective Rationality and Institutional Isomorphism in Organizational Fields,” American Sociological Review 48, no. 2 (1983): 147–60.

71 Kerstin Sahlin and Linda Wedlin, “Circulating Ideas: Imitation, Translation and Editing,” in Greenwood, Oliver, Sahlin, and Suddaby, SAGE Handbook of Organizational Institutionalism, 222.

72 Suddaby, Roy, Viale, Thierry, and Gendron, Yves, “Reflexivity: The Role of Embedded Social Position and Entrepreneurial Social Skill in Processes of Field Level Change,” Research in Organizational Behavior, 36 (2016): 226.

73 Suddaby, Viale, and Gendron, 225–245.

74 Harvey, Maclean, Gordon, and Shaw, “Andrew Carnegie,” 428.

75 Jones, van Leeuwen, and Broadberry, “Future of Economic, Business, and Social History,” 233.

76 McAdams, Dan P., Power Intimacy and the Life Story: Personological Inquiries into Identity (New York, 1988).

77 Maclean, Harvey, Gordon, and Shaw, “Identity, Storytelling and the Philanthropic Journey.”

78 Maclean, Harvey, and Clegg, “Conceptualizing Historical Organization Studies.”

79 Lyness, Sarah M. and McCambridge, Jim, “The Alcohol Industry, Charities and Policy Influence in the U.K.,” European Journal of Public Health 24, no. 4 (2014): 557–61.

80 Hampel, Christian, Lawrence, Thomas B., and Tracey, Paul, “Institutional Work: Taking Stock and Making It Matter” in The SAGE Handbook of Organizational Institutionalism, ed. Greenwood, Royston, Oliver, Christine, Lawrence, Thomas B., and Meyer, Renate E. (London, 2017), 577; Huxham, Chris and Vangen, Siv, “Working Together: Key Themes in the Management of Relationships between Public and Non-Profit Organizations,” International Journal of Public Sector Management 9, no. 7 (1996): 517.

81 Horsman, George, “The Avoidance of Estate Duty by Gifts Inter Vivos: Some Quantitative Evidence,” Economic Journal 85, no. 339 (1975): 522.

82 Lamont, Michele and Molnár, Virág, “The Study of Boundaries in the Social Sciences,” Annual Review of Sociology 28, no. 1 (2002): 167–95; Suddaby, Roy, “Challenges for Institutional Theory,” Journal of Management Inquiry 19, no. 1 (2010): 1420.

83 Downing, Stephen, “The Social Construction of Entrepreneurship: Narrative and Dramatic Processes in the Coproduction of Organizations and Identities,” Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice 29, no. 2 (2005): 185204; Ezzy, Douglas, “Theorizing Narrative Identity,” Sociological Quarterly 39, no. 2 (1998): 239–52; Maclean, Harvey, Gordon, and Shaw, “Identity, Storytelling and the Philanthropic Journey.”

84 DiMaggio and Powell, “Iron Cage Revisited.”

85 Sahlin and Wedlin, “Circulating Ideas.”

86 Anheier, Helmut K., A Dictionary of Civil Society, Philanthropy and the Third Sector (London, 2005).

87 Suddaby, “Challenges for Institutional Theory.”

88 Czarniawska and Sevón, “Introduction.”

89 Børsting, Christa and Thomsen, Steen, “Foundation Ownership, Reputation, and Labour,” Oxford Review of Economic Policy 33, no. 2 (2017): 317–38.

90 Pettigrew, Andrew, “Longitudinal Field Research on Change: Theory and Practice,” Organization Science 1, no. 3 (1990): 268. See Ginzburg, Carlo, Tedeschi, John, and Tedeschi, Anne C., “Microhistory: Two or Three Things That I Know about It,” Critical Inquiry 20, no. 1 (1993): 1035; Eisenhardt, Kathleen M., “Building Theories from Case Study Research,” Academy of Management Review 14, no. 4 (1989): 532–50; Holt, Robin and Popp, Andrew, “Emotion, Succession, and the Family Firm: Josiah Wedgwood & Sons,” Business History 55, no. 6, (2013): 892909.

Keywords

A Spirit of Generosity: Philanthropy in the Scotch Whisky Industry

  • Niall G. MacKenzie, Jillian Gordon and Martin J. Gannon

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed