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Journal ArticleDOI

Corporate Social Responsibility: a Theory of the Firm Perspective

01 Jan 2001-Academy of Management Review (Academy of Management)-Vol. 26, Iss: 1, pp 117-127

Abstract: We outline a supply and demand model of corporate social responsibility (CSR). Based on this framework, we hypothesize that a firm's level of CSR will depend on its size, level of diversification, research and development, advertising, government sales, consumer income, labor market conditions, and stage in the industry life cycle. From these hypotheses, we conclude that there is an “ideal” level of CSR, which managers can determine via cost-benefit analysis, and that there is a neutral relationship between CSR and financial performance.
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Journal ArticleDOI
Abstract: Most theorizing on the relationship between corporate social/environmental performance (CSP) and corporate financial performance (CFP) assumes that the current evidence is too fractured or too variable to draw any generalizable conclusions. With this integrative, quantitative study, we intend to show that the mainstream claim that we have little generalizable knowledge about CSP and CFP is built on shaky grounds. Providing a methodologically more rigorous review than previous efforts, we conduct a meta-analysis of 52 studies (which represent the population of prior quantitative inquiry) yielding a total sample size of 33,878 observations. The meta-analytic findings suggest that corporate virtue in the form of social responsibility and, to a lesser extent, environmental responsibility is likely to pay off, although the operationalizations of CSP and CFP also moderate the positive association. For example, CSP appears to be more highly correlated with accounting-based measures of CFP than with market-based ...

5,881 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
Elisabet Garriga, Domènec Melé1Institutions (1)
Abstract: The Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) field presents not only a landscape of theories but also a proliferation of approaches, which are controversial, complex and unclear. This article tries to clarify the sit- uation, ''mapping the territory'' by classifying the main CSR theories and related approaches in four groups: (1) instrumental theories, in which the corporation is seen as only an instrument for wealth creation, and its social activities are only a means to achieve economic results; (2) political theories, which concern themselves with the power of corporations in society and a responsible use of this power in the political arena; (3) integrative theories, in which the corporation is focused on the satisfaction of social demands; and (4) ethical theories, based on ethical responsibilities of corporations to society. In practice, each CSR theory presents four dimensions related to profits, political performance, social demands and ethical values. The findings suggest the necessity to develop a new theory on the business and society relationship, which should integrate these four dimensions.

3,337 citations

Cites background from "Corporate Social Responsibility: a ..."

  • ...Concern for profits does not exclude taking into account the interests of all who have a stake in the firm (stakeholders)....


  • ...An adequate level of investment in philanthropy and social activities is also acceptable for the sake of profits (McWilliams and Siegel, 2001)....


Journal ArticleDOI
John Campbell1Institutions (1)
Abstract: I offer an institutional theory of corporate social responsibility consisting of a series of propositions specifying the conditions under which corporations are likely to behave in socially responsible ways. I argue that the relationship between basic economic conditions and corporate behavior is mediated by several institutional conditions: public and private regulation, the presence of nongovernmental and other independent organizations that monitor corporate behavior, institutionalized norms regarding appropriate corporate behavior, associative behavior among corporations themselves, and organized dialogues among corporations and their stakeholders. Concerns about corporate social responsibility have grown significantly during the last two decades. Not only has the issue become commonplace in the business press and among business and political leaders (Buhr & Graf

3,262 citations

Cites background from "Corporate Social Responsibility: a ..."

  • ...Many of them define corporate social responsibility as actions taken by a firm that are intended to further social welfare beyond the direct economic, technical, and legal interests of the firm (e.g., Davis, 1973; McWilliams & Siegel, 2001)....


Journal ArticleDOI
Alexander Dahlsrud1Institutions (1)
Abstract: Despite numerous efforts to bring about a clear and unbiased definition of CSR, there is still some confusion as to how CSR should be defined. In this paper five dimensions of CSR are developed through a content analysis of existing CSR definitions. Frequency counts are used to analyse how often these dimensions are invoked. The analysis shows that the existing definitions are to a large degree congruent. Thus it is concluded that the confusion is not so much about how CSR is defined, as about how CSR is socially constructed in a specific context. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.

2,937 citations

Cites background from "Corporate Social Responsibility: a ..."

  • ...…one that runs a profitable business that takes account of all the positive and negative environmental, social and economic effects it has on society McWilliams and Siegel, 2001 Actions that appear to further some social 10 Voluntariness good, beyond the interests of the firm and Social that which…...


Journal ArticleDOI
Abstract: At present, the resource-based view of the firm is perhaps the most influential framework for understanding strategic management. In this editor’s introduction, we briefly describe the contributions to knowledge provided by the commentaries and articles contained in this issue. In addition, we outline some additional areas of research wherein the resource-based view can be gainfully deployed.

2,667 citations

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Book ChapterDOI
Jay B. Barney1Institutions (1)
Abstract: Understanding sources of sustained competitive advantage has become a major area of research in strategic management. Building on the assumptions that strategic resources are heterogeneously distributed across firms and that these differences are stable over time, this article examines the link between firm resources and sustained competitive advantage. Four empirical indicators of the potential of firm resources to generate sustained competitive advantage-value, rareness, imitability, and substitutability are discussed. The model is applied by analyzing the potential of several firm resources for generating sustained competitive advantages. The article concludes by examining implications of this firm resource model of sustained competitive advantage for other business disciplines.

43,350 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
Abstract: Stakeholder theory has been a popular heuristic for describing the management environment for years, but it has not attained full theoretical status. Our aim in this article is to contribute to a theory of stakeholder identification and salience based on stakeholders possessing one or more of three relationship attributes: power, legitimacy, and urgency. By combining these attributes, we generate a typology of stakeholders, propositions concerning their salience to managers of the firm, and research and management implications.

9,978 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
Thomas Donaldson1, Lee E. Preston2Institutions (2)
Abstract: ?The stakeholder theory has been advanced and justified in the management literature on the basis of its descriptive accuracy, instrumental power, and normative validity. These three aspects of the theory, although interrelated, are quite distinct; they involve different types of evidence and argument and have different implications. In this article, we examine these three aspects of the theory and critique and integrate important contributions to the literature related to each. We conclude that the three aspects of stakeholder theory are mutually supportive and that the normative base of the theory-which includes the modern theory of property rights-is fundamental. If the unity of the corporate body is real, then there is reality and not simply legal fiction in the proposition that the managers of the unit are fiduciaries for it and not merely for its individual members, that they are . . . trustees for an institution [with multiple constituents] rather than attorneys for the stockholders.

9,532 citations

"Corporate Social Responsibility: a ..." refers background in this paper

  • ...According to Donaldson and Preston (1995), three aspect of this theory-normative, instrumental, and descriptive-are "mutually supportive....


Book ChapterDOI
01 Jan 2007-
Abstract: When I hear businessmen speak eloquently about the “social responsibilities of business in a free-enterprise system”, I am reminded of the wonderful line about the Frenchman who discovered at the age of 70 that he had been speaking prose all his life. The businessmen believe that they are defending free enterprise when they declaim that business is not concerned “merely” with profit but also with promoting desirable “social” ends; that business has a “social conscience” and takes seriously its responsibilities for providing employment, eliminating discrimination, avoiding pollution and whatever else may be the catchwords of the contemporary crop of reformers. In fact they are — or would be if they or anyone else took them seriously -preaching pure and unadulterated socialism. Businessmen who talk this way are unwitting puppets of the intellectual forces that have been undermining the basis of a free society these past decades.

9,256 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
Sandra Waddock1, Samuel B. Graves1Institutions (1)
Abstract: Strategic managers are consistently faced with the decision of how to allocate scarce corporate resources in an environment that is placing more and more pressures on them. Recent scholarship in strategic management suggests that many of these pressures come directly from sources associated with social issues in management, rather than traditional arenas of strategic management. Using a greatly improved source of data on corporate social performance, this paper reports the results of a rigorous study of the empirical linkages between financial and social performance. Corporate social performance (CSP) is found to be positively associated with prior financial performance, supporting the theory that slack resource availability and CSP are positively related. CSP is also found to be positively associated with future financial performance, supporting the theory that good management and CSP are positively related.? 1997 by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd

5,321 citations

"Corporate Social Responsibility: a ..." refers methods in this paper

  • ...An empirical test of the CSP framework is presented in the work of Waddock and Graves (1997), who report a positive association be-...


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