It’s Who You Know That Counts: Board Connectedness and CSR Performance

79 Pages Posted: 9 Jul 2020

See all articles by Abu S. Amin

Abu S. Amin

Central Michigan University

Lamia Chourou

University of Ottawa

Mahfuja Malik

Boston University; Sacred Heart University

Syed M Kamal

Departmet of Finance, University of Tennessee-Knoxville; Austin College

Yang Zhao

Newcastle University

Date Written: June 15, 2020


We examine whether and how board connections affect the firm's corporate social responsibilities (CSR). Grounded in the agency, resource dependence, and social network theory, our research predicts and finds that board connectedness is positively associated with CSR performance. This result is robust to a quasi-natural experiment, alternative measurement specifications, and an instrumental variable approach. Our findings suggest firms that operate in a complex business environment or require more advising (i.e. where demand for information is greater) benefit more from a well-networked board. Also, firms that are poorly governed, have high stock return volatility, low market capitalization, or low institutional ownership tend to benefit more from the well-connected board when the cost of acquiring information is higher. In addition, we show that independent directors’ abilities to gather information and resources from their networks can facilitate the transmission of information. Collectively, our study documents the informational advantage of a network as the predominant channel that allows a well-connected board to improve a firm’s CSR performance.

Keywords: Social network, Board connectedness, Corporate social responsibility

JEL Classification: G30, G39

Suggested Citation

Amin, Abu S. and Chourou, Lamia and Malik, Mahfuja and Kamal, Syed and Kamal, Syed and Zhao, Yang, It’s Who You Know That Counts: Board Connectedness and CSR Performance (June 15, 2020). Journal of Corporate Finance, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN:

Abu S. Amin (Contact Author)

Central Michigan University ( email )

329 Sloan Hall
Mt Pleasant, MI Michigan 48858
United States
9897747621 (Phone)
9897746456 (Fax)

Lamia Chourou

University of Ottawa ( email )

Mahfuja Malik

Boston University ( email )

595 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
United States

Sacred Heart University ( email )

5151 Park Ave
Fairfield, CT 06432
United States

Syed Kamal

Departmet of Finance, University of Tennessee-Knoxville ( email )

Knoxville, TN 37996
United States

Austin College ( email )

Sherman, TX 75090-4400
United States

HOME PAGE: http://

Yang Zhao

Newcastle University ( email )

5 Barrack Road
Devonshire Building
United Kingdom

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics