Connecting the dots: An integrative framework of CSR antecedents, heterogeneous CSR approaches, and sustainable and financial performance
50 Pages Posted: 25 Aug 2021 Last revised: 3 Jun 2022
Date Written: June 3, 2022
We incorporate CSR into Olivers’ (1991) institutional pressure framework to unravel why, how, and to what avail firms adopt CSR. Our theoretical framework adopts CSR antecedents as drivers of institutional CSR pressure, which affect the heterogeneous ways firms approach CSR. These CSR approaches, in turn, determine firms’ sustainable and financial performance. We empirically verify this theoretical framework for firms in 75 countries and observe that 50%, 24%, and 26% of the firms approach strategic CSR, CSR-as-insurance, and corporate greenwashing. When institutional CSR pressure increases, firms transition from CSR-as-insurance and towards strategic CSR and corporate greenwashing to (superficially) comply with stakeholders’ need for sustainability. Strategic CSR firms systematically outperform CSR-as-insurance firms and especially corporate greenwashing firms in sustainable and financial performance. Our results imply that it is not whether but rather how firms approach CSR that determines the societal outcomes of CSR.
Keywords: Strategic CSR, CSR-as-insurance, corporate greenwashing, promised to realized sustainable performance, societal impact
JEL Classification: M14, Q56, G15
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation