Journal of Business Ethics 92 (S1):41 - 56 (2010)

The link between Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and financial performance has continued to generate mixed and inconclusive results. Most studies in this area seem to assume that corporate social and financial performance share the same underpinning logic. Drawing from a qualitative analysis of practitioners' accounts of the challenges of mainstreaming the market for responsible investments, as part of the broader CSR agenda, this article re-examines this taken-for-granted assumption in the extant literature, and reaches the conclusion that CSR, as a complex private governance of externalities, does not easily lend itself to measurability and profitability. In other words, not everything about CSR is measurable and profitable as much as the financial markets would expect. Comparing what is rendered measurable and profitable, on one hand, and what is yet to fully lend itself to measurability and profitability, on the other, is identified as one of the fundamental flaws of this literature. As such, CSR and financial performance will continue to run on competing logics until their different markets are distinctively articulated and/or aligned
Keywords markets for responsible investments  corporate financial performance  Social Studies of Finance  competing market logics
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DOI 10.1007/s10551-010-0633-8
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