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


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.

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    • "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.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2016 · Organization Studies
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    • "The emphasis has thereby shifted over time from a predominance of conceptual articles in the first period to empirical articles forming the majority after 2002 (see Table 1). This might to a certain extent be due to the development of CSR measurement and outcomes (Morgeson et al., 2013; Wood, 2010), and the growing emphasis on strategy and performance in HRM research (Paauwe, 2009). "
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    ABSTRACT: Despite a significant increase in research and practise linking corporate social responsibility (CSR) and human resource management (HRM), a comprehensive examination of the relationship between these two constructs has yet to be undertaken. Scholars associating CSR and HRM rarely explicate their understanding of the connection between CSR and HRM (CSR-HRM) or the assumptions they make when exploring this relationship. Thus, we argue that a comprehensive review of the literature of the CSR-HRM nexus is relevant and necessary. Such a review would allow scholars to reach more explicit and comprehensive understandings of CSR-HRM, and enhance research both theoretically and empirically. We address this endeavour by means of a systematic review and conceptual analysis of past and current writings linking CSR and HRM, based on key themes and meta-theoretical commitments at the intersection of CSR-HRM. We propose three theoretical perspectives that can be used to conceptualize CSR-HRM: instrumental, social integrative and political. We elaborate on the potential these three approaches hold for research in the field of CSR-HRM. The contribution of this paper is to expose the diversity of understandings of CSR-HRM and provide a conceptual map for navigating and planning further research.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2016 · Human Resource Management Review
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    • "Many attempts have been made to order theory and approaches concerning ideas and socially responsible actions in an organisation's functioning (Garriga & Mele, 2004). The position presented in this report refers to the "before profit obligation" model (Kang & Wood, 1995) and its development i.e.the "social action" model (Wood, 2010). The first one assumes that every organisation is obliged to observe moral principles at every stage of its activity and not only after gaining profit. "

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