Do Stakeholder Orientation and Environmental Proactivity Impact Firm Profitability?

43 Pages Posted: 29 Nov 2017

See all articles by Franck Brulhart

Franck Brulhart

Aix-Marseille University

Sandrine Gherra

Montpellier Business School

Bertrand V. Quelin

HEC Paris

Date Written: November 28, 2017


The impact of socially responsible corporate behavior on economic performance is a major preoccupation of managers today. This article explores the links between narrowly defined constructs: stakeholder orientation, environmental proactivity and profitability, from the perspectives of stakeholder theory and resource-based theory. We collected data on the food and beverage, and household and personal products, industries. Using structural equation modeling, this paper makes two contributions. We found a negative link between companies simply having a higher stakeholder orientation and profitability. Importantly, however, environmental proactivity not only had a positive impact on profitability, but also appeared to mediate the relationship between stakeholder orientation and profitability. In other words, if a company is more environmentally proactive, it will be more attentive to a broad array of stakeholders, and this will in turn contribute positively to profitability.

Keywords: environmental proactivity, firm profitability, resource-based theory, stakeholder theory, stakeholder orientation

Suggested Citation

Brulhart, Franck and Gherra, Sandrine and Quélin, Bertrand V., Do Stakeholder Orientation and Environmental Proactivity Impact Firm Profitability? (November 28, 2017). Journal of Business Ethics, doi/10.1007/s10551-017-3732-y, Forthcoming, HEC Paris Research Paper No. SPE-2017-1241, Available at SSRN: or

Franck Brulhart (Contact Author)

Aix-Marseille University ( email )

3 Avenue Robert Schuman
3 Avenue Robert Schuman,
Aix-en-Provence, 13628

Sandrine Gherra

Montpellier Business School ( email )

2300 Avenue des Moulins
Montpellier, 34080

Bertrand V. Quélin

HEC Paris ( email )

Jouy-en-Josas Cedex, 78351


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