Board Characteristics and Corporate Social Responsibility: A Meta-Analytic Investigation

Business and Society 60 (8):2099-2135 (2021)
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Boards of directors affect corporate strategy and decision-making through monitoring of management and resource provision. Recently, an increasing number of studies have examined the relationships between board characteristics and corporate social responsibility (CSR). These studies have yielded inconsistent findings. This article therefore reports the results of a study applying meta-analytical techniques to a sample of 82 empirical studies to help clarify the relationships between board characteristics and CSR. Although prior research has tended to apply relatively simplistic models investigating the impact of individual board characteristics independently and only directly, we adopt a more complex perspective to shed new light on the board characteristics–CSR nexus. Specifically, we use a meta-analytic path model that accounts for the potential interplay between board characteristics in determining CSR and tests whether the presence of a CSR committee plays a meditating role. Our findings suggest that board size, board independence, and female board representation are partially interrelated with each other and jointly influence CSR directly as well as indirectly via the presence of a CSR committee. In addition, we find that country-level institutional factors act as moderators and that the relationships differ with regard to the specific dimension of CSR (i.e., social, environmental, or aggregate).



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