A1 Journal article (refereed), original research

Corporate social performance: inter-industry and international differences

Publication Details
Authors: Arminen Heli, Puumalainen Kaisu, Pätäri Satu, Fellnhofer Katharina
Publisher: Elsevier
Publication year: 2018
Language: English
Related Journal or Series Information: Journal of Cleaner Production
Volume number: 177
Issue number: 10
Start page: 426
End page: 437
Number of pages: 12
ISSN: 0959-6526
eISSN: 1879-1786
JUFO-Level of this publication: 2
Open Access: Not an Open Access publication


The past decades have experienced a growing interest in social and
environmental issues, which has put more pressure on companies to meet
diverse stakeholder expectations. These expectations encompass both
inter-industry and international differences, highlighting the
context-dependence of corporate social performance (CSP). Given the
increased pressure to conduct business in a socially responsible manner,
managers and policy-makers must understand the institutional factors
that affect CSP but are not directly controllable. Despite this need,
empirical studies of institutional effects are relatively rare and have
mostly concentrated on a limited number of countries or industries.
Moreover, informal institutions such as postmaterialistic values have
not been adequately considered in the context of institutional research,
although postmaterialism represents social change resulting in new
social demands, which then cause more intense pressure on companies to
improve their CSP. Our study accounts for postmaterialism and examines
the institutional effects on CSP at both the national and industry
levels in a sample of 6211 companies from 52 countries. To conduct this
study, we utilized CSP information from the CSRHub database, which
allowed us to analyse overall CSP and its four dimensions: community,
employees, environment and governance. Our findings based on linear
regression analyses indicate that country-level institutions are most
strongly associated with CSP, and that the level of economic development
and postmaterialistic values are positively related with the overall
CSP and most of its dimensions. Also, company size and financial
performance appear to affect CSP, while the evidence for the effect of
industry impact is weak. Overall, there are both similarities and
significant differences in the drivers of overall CSP and its
dimensions. Understanding the determinants of CSP can improve
understanding of how companies can contribute to sustainable development
across nations and industries via sustainable business models (SBMs).
Thus, our results may highlight the roles played by national governments
in stimulating sustainable development in general and alternative SBMs
in particular.

Last updated on 2019-13-03 at 12:00