The Effect of Authentic Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Intent and Substantiveness on Firm Performance

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Abstract

he direct relationship between corporate social performance (CSP) and firm performance has been examined by many scholars, but this direct test has resulted in ambiguous findings. Some argue that the inconsistencies are because of many untested factors that influence this relationship. We argue that CSP may, in fact, be a mediating variable itself, rather than a latent factor. Therefore, this study introduces a latent (authenticity of CSR report), and mediating factor (CSR substantiveness) that may help us understand the complex relationship between CSR and firm performance. The findings from 308 companies reveal a fully, double-mediated link between CSR report authenticity and firm performance. Taken together, our findings suggest the intent behind organizations’ CSR initiative impacts corporate social performance. Specifically, organizations will experience increased CSP when there is a perceived alignment signaling organizational stakeholders that the firm is engaging in substantive CSR activities.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAcademy of Strategic Management Journal
Volume20
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2021

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