Corporate Social Performance: A Review of Empirical Research Examining the Corporation–Society Relationship Using Kinder, Lydenberg, Domini Social Ratings Data [Book Review]

Business and Society 56 (6):796-839 (2017)

Abstract

This article reviews empirical research of corporate social performance using Kinder, Lydenberg, Domini social ratings data through 2011. The review synthesizes 100 empirical studies, noting consistencies and inconsistencies among studies examining similar constructs. Notable consistencies were that, although accounting measures of financial performance were a positive outcome of CSP, the same was not often true of stock returns. Also, demographics of top management teams increased CSP strengths, but did not reduce concerns, whereas organizational decentralization reduced CSP concerns. Notable inconsistencies were that CEO demographics were not as often related to CSP as were TMT demographics, indicating that managerial discretion may be an important mitigating factor shaping managerial effects on CSP. Also, although CSP for some organizations seemed influenced by institutional pressures, other organizations appeared to be less influenced, perhaps suggesting that some organizations are more able than others to resist institutional pressures. Future research should attempt to probe observed consistencies and inconsistencies, and to test the boundaries of observed relationships, toward a disciplined program of middle-range theory development.

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