Corporate Social Responsibility and Firm Strategic Behaviors




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What is the role of corporate social responsibility (CSR) in business strategy? More specifically, how does CSR engagement influence firms’ strategic behaviors? While the idea of CSR has started gaining traction back in the 1960s, the dominant line of inquiry tends to focus on providing justifications for CSR activities. The rapid changes in technology along with the continuous push toward globalization over the last thirty years have not only brought the world closer together but have also changed the basic fabric of our socio-institutional conditions. The firms in the modern society can no longer claim that they only have the fiduciary duty to the shareholders. Indeed, social and institutional stakeholders have increasingly demanded the firms to not only meet their economic objectives but also to satisfy other socio-institutional expectations including CSR engagement. Thus, CSR activities may influence not only the firms’ relationships with the external environment but also the internal organizational environment. Such influence may have profound impact on the firms’ strategic behaviors; yet our understanding is rather cursory.
Endeavoring to join this scholarly discourse, this dissertation includes three separate essays that explore the strategic drivers and consequences of CSR engagement. Specifically, the first essay (Chapter 1) examines the influence of CSR engagement on internal corporate governance practices by asking the question: Are socially responsible firms more likely to appoint woman and minority CEOs? The second essay (Chapter 2) expands the scope of inquiry by investigating whether differences in stakeholder orientation as reflected in differences in CSR engagement between alliance partners may reduce the effectiveness of alliances as a value creation strategy. Lastly, the third essay (Chapter 3) explores how firms in different institutional environments (the United States vs. China) may choose diverging paths in using CSR engagement to ensure continuing collaboration of critical stakeholders. Taken together, these essays contribute to a better understanding of how CSR engagement may influence firm strategic behaviors as well as the changing roles and expectations of the firms in modern society.



Social responsibility of business, Corporate governance, Strategic alliances (Business), Women chief executive officers, Minority executives


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