Landrum Research Probes Value of Promise for Murphy

Dr. Nancy Landrum, associate professor of management in the UALR College of Business, has published a paper showing that Murphy Oil’s $50 million donation to establish the El Dorado Promise college scholarship program for local youth, was more than “checkbook philanthropy.”

“It was strategic philanthropy,” Landrum says. “Strategic philanthropy is that in which corporations use their charitable initiatives to improve the competitive context for the business, or the quality of the company’s immediate business environment.”

A major component necessary to conduct business is human capital. Since the announcement of the Murphy Corp.’s commitment, company officials said the Promise program will help make it easier to recruit people and rebuild the local talent pool. One year after announcing the Promise program, the city saw an 18 percent increase in college-bound seniors.

After two years, the community saw a 4 percent increase in school enrollment, the local community college experienced a 16 percent increase in enrollment, and families from more than 28 states and 10 foreign countries had moved to El Dorado.

“When viewed from the framework of strategic philanthropy, it becomes apparent how Murphy Oil’s investment in its business environment was strategic in nature by investing in factor conditions necessary for ongoing business (or the creation and development of human capital) and has the potential to improve long-term business prospects for the company,” Landrum said.

In addition to this research publication, Landrum had two other journal publications in 2008 and is anticipating the release of her book in August 2009, Sustainable Business: An Executive’s Primer.

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