Can Corporate Social Responsibility Counteract Managers' Incentives to Manage Earnings?
33 Pages Posted: 12 Jun 2017
Date Written: June 1, 2017
Many firms engage in corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives, which aim to serve a broader set of stakeholders (e.g. workforce, communities, environment). These companies often encourage management to consider these stakeholders when making operational and financial decisions. One such decision that managers face involves managing earnings. We conduct an experiment in which experienced managers are placed in the role of a division manager facing an accrual decision. We find that a company’s demonstrated commitment to CSR moderates both upward and downward earnings management attempts. We propose, and find support for, a moderated-mediation model in which the firm’s commitment to CSR influences managers’ consideration of constituents. Managers’ consideration of these stakeholders differentially affects the level of accruals, depending on the direction of the earnings management incentive. Our results provide insight into how CSR may influence individuals’ decisions within the organization, minimizing the impact that incentives have on maximizing one’s self-interest.
Keywords: Corporate Social Responsibility, Earnings Management, Discretionary Accruals, Personal Incentives
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