Measuring Corporate Social Performance: A Review

The David W. Wilson Chair in Business Ethics, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, IA 50614, USA
International Journal of Management Reviews (Impact Factor: 3.58). 02/2010; 12(1):50 - 84. DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-2370.2009.00274.x

ABSTRACT This paper reviews the literature on corporate social performance (CSP) measurement and sets that literature into a theoretical context. Following a review of CSP theory development and the literature on relationships between CSP and corporate financial performance, Wood's CSP model (Wood, D.J. (1991). Corporate social performance revisited. Academy of Management Review, 16, pp. 691–718) is used as an organizing device to present and discuss studies that use particular measures of CSP. Conclusions emphasize the need for CSP scholars to refocus on stakeholders and society, and to incorporate relevant literatures from other scholarly domains.

    • "CSP has been defined as 'business activity, focusing on the impacts and outcomes for society, stakeholders and the firm' (Wood, 2010, p. 54), i.e. the 'social outcomes of firm behaviors' (Rowley & Berman, 2000, p. 398) in terms of (positive or negative) effects on the natural environment and social systems (Wood, 2010). Much research has been conducted to understand the conditions under which corporate activities can contribute to addressing social problems. "
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    ABSTRACT: The literature on corporate social performance (CSP) advocates that firms address social issues based on instrumental as well as moral rationales. While both rationales trigger initiatives to increase CSP, these rest on fundamentally different and contradicting foundations. Building on the literature on organizational ambidexterity and paradox in management, we propose in this conceptual paper that ambidexterity represents an important determinant of CSP. We explain how firms achieve higher levels of CSP through the ambidextrous ability to simultaneously pursue instrumentally and morally driven social initiatives. We distinguish between a balance dimension and a combined dimension of ambidexterity, which both enhance CSP through distinct mechanisms. With the balance dimension, instrumental and moral initiatives compensate for each other – which increases the scope of CSP. With the combined dimension, instrumental and moral initiatives supplement each other – which increases the scale of CSP. The paper identifies the most important determinants and moderators of the balance and the combined dimension to explain the conditions under which we expect firms to increase CSP through ambidexterity. By focusing on the interplay and tensions between different types of social initiatives, an ambidextrous perspective contributes to a better understanding of CSP. Regarding managerial practice, we highlight the role of structural and behavioral factors for achieving higher CSP through the simultaneous pursuit of instrumental and moral initiatives.
    Organization Studies 01/2015; accepted for publication. · 2.33 Impact Factor
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    • "This brief summary suggests a certain alignment among scholars in considering CSR to be a construct that describes the relationship between companies and society as a whole (Wood 1991; Snider et al. 2003). More specifically, CSR has been conceptualized as context-specific corporate behaviors and policies that affect the expectations of stakeholders (Aguinis 2011; Wood 2010), either by influencing the Triple Bottom Line of economic, social, and environmental performance (Aguinis 2011), or going beyond the economic interests of businesses (Turker 2009b). Beyond the concept of organizational behaviors, the given definition of CSR is closely interrelated with the concept of stakeholders. "
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    ABSTRACT: To date, the discussion of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has consistently addressed organizational activities, which are the focus of measures that are able to evaluate CSR in enterprises. However, the psychosocial characteristics of CSR have remained relatively unexplored. Indeed, some scholars have recently proposed that both the perspective-taking (as a cognitive dimension of CSR) and propensity to take care (as an affective dimension of CSR) of different stakeholders are related to sustainable and socially responsible organizational behaviors (as the behavioral dimension of CSR), thus fostering the development of CSR within enterprises that take a multi-stakeholder approach. According to this psychosocial perspective, we propose and test a multidimensional Psychosocial CSR (P-CSR) scale to measure organizational engagement in corporate social responsibility with regard to multiple stakeholders. By linking the cognitive, affective, and behavioral dimensions of CSR to the propensity of business professionals to enhance their environmental and social ethics, we offer a more complete description of how CSR involving multiple stakeholders arises in enterprises. A survey of 345 business professionals—including both employers and employees—of Italian Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) completed a self-reported questionnaire. Based on the psychosocial perspective, we found that multi-stakeholder-oriented perspective-taking, propensity to take care, and socially responsible behaviors are part of the same construct, leading to an exhaustive explanation of CSR at the organizational level. Moreover, we developed both theoretical and practical implications for the promotion of CSR in organizational contexts, especially among SMEs.
    Employee Responsibilities and Rights Journal 09/2014; 26(3). DOI:10.1007/s10672-013-9228-8
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    • "369 ) , the choice of KLD introduces some limitations . While this study uses a portfolio operationalization to capture the global footprint for each sample firm , KLD ' s selection of firms listed on US stock exchanges ( Turker , 2009 ) results in a dataset that is over - whelmingly comprised of US - based firms ( Wood , 2010 ) . The KLD data are also skewed towards larger firms ( Hart and Sharfman , 2012 ) , and it has been suggested that the act of being rated itself might affect a firm ' s social responsibility or irresponsibility outcomes ( Chatterji and Toffel , 2010 ; Chatterji et al . "
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    ABSTRACT: Using an institutional theory framework we theorize, hypothesize, and empirically show that higher levels of formal and informal corruption environments found in a firm's operating portfolio are related to higher levels of corporate social irresponsibility (CSiR). Failing to consider corruption's informal dimension leads to potentially false perceptions about a multinational enterprise's (MNE) operating environment, particularly when the formal dimension is low but the informal corruption dimension is high, as is the case in about one third of our sample. Including the informal corruption environment component provides additional explanatory power over the formal corruption environment alone in predicting CSiR and yields a superior understanding of both the formal and informal dimensions of the corruption institutional environment's influence on corporate social irresponsibility levels of MNEs. Managerial implications and future research directions are discussed.
    Journal of Management Studies 08/2014; 52(1). DOI:10.1111/joms.12102 · 4.26 Impact Factor
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