Board attributes, corporate social responsibility strategy, and corporate environmental and social performance
Journal of Business Ethics
Reason for embargo
Publisher's embargo 12 months
In this paper we draw on insights from theories in the management and corporate governance literature to develop a theoretical model that makes explicit the links between a firm’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) related board attributes, its board CSR strategy, and its environmental and social performance. We then test the model using structural equation modeling approach. We find that the greater the CSR orientation of the board (as measured by the board’s independence, gender diversity, and financial expertise on audit committee), the more proactive and comprehensive the firm’s CSR strategy, and the higher its environmental and social performance. Moreover, we find this link to be endogenous and self-reinforcing, with superior CSR performers tending to further strengthen their board CSR orientation. This result while positive is also suggestive of the widening of the gap between the leads and laggards in CSR. Therefore the question arises as to how ‘leaders’ are using their superior CSR competencies seen by many scholars as a source of corporate (at times unfair) competitive advantage. Stakeholders of corporations therefore need to be cognizant of this aspect of CSR when evaluating a firm’s CSR activities. Policy makers also need to be cognizant of these concerns when designing regulation in this field.
“The final publication is available at Springer via http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10551-014-2460-9”.